Is the ringing in your ears getting worse? Stop doing these 9 things that aggravate tinnitus and you may see an improvement.
If you have tinnitus, no one has to tell you how miserable it can be. Verging on painful, it makes it hard to hear, concentrate, relax, and enjoy life. Yet much as you’d like to get rid of it, you may be doing some things to make your tinnitus worse. Let’s look at 9 habits that may make the condition worse.
1. You Really Need to Turn the TV Down: Loud Noises Are Bad for Tinnitus
It’s nearly impossible to avoid loud noises. That’s a fact. It doesn’t matter whether it’s part of your job, you’re mowing the lawn, enjoying a fireworks show, or just listening to the TV a little too loudly.
These and other loud noises cause permanent hearing loss. For many people, tinnitus, which is characterized as a ringing in the ears, is an early sign that they’re on their way to profound deafness.
The good news is that you can take steps now to prevent further hearing damage from loud noises. You can start by wearing protection for your ears such as earplugs or earmuffs if you work in a loud environment or spend a lot of time at concerts where the band turns the amps up to 11. When you have a choice, try to spend less time in noisy places like nightclubs. And most importantly, never try to drown out noise with music, because that really just makes things worse.
2. Frankie Says Relax: Stress Makes Tinnitus Worse
In today’s fast-paced world, many of us have forgotten how to relax. We feel unproductive if we’re not always on the go, or we let unmanaged stress eat away at us instead of attending to our needs or addressing the underlying causes.
Take some “me” time. Do something you love. Allow yourself to take time off. Learn to meditate and exercise more to help manage stress naturally.
If these things aren’t helping, you might want to consider speaking with a mental health professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment used to great success by many mental health counselors to help patients manage their tinnitus. While CBT doesn’t cure tinnitus or get rid of the ringing, patients learn how to recognize the negative thoughts associated with tinnitus and use the tools given them by the mental health professional to put a positive, realistic spin on those thoughts.
3. You’re Taking Drugs (No, Not That Kind): These Medications Make Tinnitus Worse
Many medications can cause and worsen tinnitus. These include drugs most people think are harmless like over-the-counter pain medications, as well as prescription opiates like Oxycontin or morphine.
In addition to these, research has shown that some diuretics, antidepressants, antibiotics and cancer drugs can make tinnitus worse and cause permanent hearing loss. These drugs are known as ototoxic medications, which means that they can cause hearing loss. The good news is that tinnitus symptoms usually only last for as long as you’re taking the medication – the bad news is that some people need to take these drugs on a regular basis for other health reasons.
If you have to take these drugs, talk to your doctor about alternatives that may have less of an effect on your tinnitus. When possible, make lifestyle changes to reduce your need to take these drugs long-term.
4. Your Tinnitus Is Telling You Something…But You’re Not Listening
Tinnitus is a warning sign. Often it’s telling you that something isn’t right. That something could be noise, stress, medications or something else.
Oftentimes, it might just be the foods you’re eating – or not eating. To find out if your diet is the cause of the ringing in your ears, try keeping a food journal. Note days when it’s worse and you’ll likely find that you have some triggers. For instance, many people find that artificial sweeteners and caffeine make it worse.
In a lot of cases, people may find that the ringing in their ears is worse because they’re not getting enough iron in their diet, which may lead to iron deficiency anemia. This condition makes the blood pump harder throughout the body to make sure all the organs get the oxygen they need and can often result in a rushing sound in the ears.