Red wine and too much alcohol is just one of the things you should avoid when you have tinnitus.

There are few conditions that are more difficult to comprehend for those who don’t suffer from tinnitus. The problem with tinnitus is that if you are not afflicted with it, you won’t hear, see or feel the symptoms in the same way you would other conditions.

But for the almost 50 million Americans who experience some form of tinnitus, the condition is very real and can be very difficult to deal with. Tinnitus is best characterized as ringing in the ears, but according to the American Tinnitus Association, it can present sufferers with whistling, hissing, swooshing, clicking, and buzzing. These sounds aren’t perceptible by others and that could be the most frustrating part of tinnitus, which can lead to confusion, disorientation, depression and delayed diagnosis.

While that 50 million number is huge, it’s even more staggering when put in the context that it means about 15 percent of the overall public battles with tinnitus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that around 20 million of those people have what’s classified as burdensome chronic tinnitus, while another two million suffer from symptoms that are severe and debilitating.

In order to augment their hearing and drown out the ringing, people with tinnitus frequently try hearing aids. While a hearing aid has proven to be an effective method of reducing the symptoms connected with tinnitus, there are behavioral changes you can make to decrease the ringing.

If you have tinnitus here are 10 things to avoid:

  • Loud noises; This one probably seems obvious, but it bears repeating that loud noises can exacerbate the sounds you’re already hearing internally. Be mindful of situations where you’ll be exposed to sounds at an increased level. This can include construction sites, concerts, and loud restaurants. Consider protecting your ears with earplugs if you can’t avoid the noise. Earplugs can be very helpful for people whose job involves using loud machinery.
  • Caffeine; Once again, a rise in tinnitus levels goes along with this influence due to an increase in blood pressure. You may also find that too much caffeine changes your sleeping habits.
  • Unsafe blood pressure levels; If you want to keep your tinnitus at bay you should monitor your blood pressure which can also help safeguard you from other illnesses. It’s important to note that both high and low blood pressure levels can make your tinnitus worse, so you should be persistent about routinely checking your blood pressure.
  • Excess earwax; When it comes to how your ears work, it’s a known fact that earwax helpful. But actually dirt is trapped and our ears are protected by this gunk that we hate. That being said, too much buildup can cause tinnitus to get worse. Your doctor may be able to help you reduce some of the accumulation and supply prevention advice to ensure it doesn’t accumulate to a dangerous level again.
  • Certain medicines; Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be very good at easing pain, but they may actually make your tinnitus symptoms worse. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication such as prescription antibiotics or cancer drugs. But before you stop taking a medication that was prescribed by your doctor, you should set up a consultation.
  • Poor sleeping habits; Mom wasn’t kidding around when she said you needed those eight hours each night. Sleep is another critical aspect of healthy living that offers a wide range of benefits, including helping to avoid tinnitus triggers.
  • Infections; Since a lingering cold can quickly turn into a sinus infection there has always been commentary about the need to find a cure for it. Be certain you’re controlling your exposure to ear and sinus infections because they have been known to intensify tinnitus.
  • Alcohol; There’s a common adage that says drinking a small glass of wine daily can have a positive influence on heart health and cholesterol levels, and that may be true; however, you absolutely can have too much of a good thing with regards to alcohol and tinnitus. For certain people drinking too much alcohol makes tinnitus symptoms more evident because it tends to increase your blood pressure.
  • Smoking; Your blood pressure can definitely be raised by smoking. What’s more, it can narrow the blood vessels to the ears, which can make tinnitus symptoms more severe.
  • Jaw issues; If you’re having jaw pain, you should already be visiting a doctor, but especially if you also suffer from tinnitus. Alleviating jaw pain might have some impact on your tinnitus since the jaw and ears share nerves and ligaments.

Although there’s no established cure for tinnitus, there are ways to manage the symptoms and take back your life. Give these 10 suggestions a shot, and you might be pleasantly surprised with the improvements in your symptoms and your general health. If these don’t help, set up an appointment with a hearing specialist.

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