They say when your ears ring, someone is talking about you. However, if it goes on and on, the ringing becomes less of a superstition and more of a nuisance! This condition is known as tinnitus. If you’re not careful, certain things can make it worse.
Tinnitus isn’t a disease or illness. It’s a sign that something is up with the ear and part of the brain. Ringing is the most common description, but it may also sound like buzzing, hissing, clicking, or even roaring. The pitch can vary, and it can affect one or both ears. Because the sounds have no external cause, it can be extremely frustrating.
About 10 percent of American adults get tinnitus each year.1 As you can imagine, focusing on other things can be tricky. Plus, since other people can’t hear it, describing it your doctor isn’t always easy.
What Causes Tinnitus?
The culprit may be simple, such as earwax blocking the ear canal. Other times, tinnitus is caused by loud noises, such as a bomb blasts or continuous construction work. Even musicians can suffer from tinnitus.
Other potential cause include ear and sinus infections, heart disease, hormonal changes in women, and thyroid problems. Ménière’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear, can also spark tinnitus. A more serious cause is brain tumors.2
Things That Can Make Tinnitus Worse
Tinnitus is different for everyone, so treatment needs to be individualized. Until then, stay clear from these nine things. It’ll stop that pesky ringing from taking place.
1. Earplugs Control Loud Noises
As a common cause of tinnitus, it’s no surprise that loud noises make it worse. This includes heavy machinery, road work, and concerts. If you can, move away or wear earplugs. When using headphones, turn down the volume.
2. Exercise Relieves Stress
Tinnitus is stressful to deal with. What’s worse is that stress can cause it, too. Break the cycle by making stress relief a priority. Try yoga, light physical activity, and doing things you love.
3. Ice Packs Or Massages Help Jaw Problems
While uncommon, jaw issues can worsen or cause tinnitus. Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ) are problems of the muscle and joints in your lower jaw. Specifically, the parts that are help chew food are affected.3 Do you have TMJ? Treating it might help tinnitus. Natural remedies include ice packs, massages, or gentle stretches.
4. Too Much Earwax Can Make Tinnitus Worse
Again, earwax is a cause of tinnitus. If it accumulates, the sounds will just get worse. Don’t try to remove it yourself, though. A doctor can do it safely and properly.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Aggravate Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a potential side effect of some drugs. If you already have it, certain medicine may be bad news. Examples include anti-inflammatory drugs, sedatives, antidepressants, and some antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs.4
6. Blood Pressure Levels Can Affect Tinnitus
Need another reason to get a handle on your blood pressure? Both hypo- or hypertension both intensify or cause tinnitus.5 These conditions can also harm the heart and overall health, so keep that in mind.
7. Alcohol Worsens The Effects Of Tinnitus
For some people, alcohol worsens tinnitus.6 Listen to how you react – literally. If alcohol causes problems, avoid or limit drinking.
8. Caffeine Is Bad For Tinnitus
Caffeine might not help tinnitus, either.7 Keep in mind that this doesn’t just include coffee. Soda, tea, and chocolate have small amounts of caffeine.
9. Relaxing Music Can Help You Sleep Better
Poor sleep is like stress. It can be a result and cause of tinnitus, making it hard to fix. To get enough shuteye, avoid sleeping in complete silence. Mask the ringing with relaxing music, such as ocean or nature noises.8 Hopefully, it’ll be easier to drift off.
Everyone experiences tinnitus differently. It might be temporary or chronic, soft or loud. Pay attention to what makes it worse, and adjust accordingly.