Many people with hearing loss also suffer from tinnitus. This occurs when a constant ringing noise is present in the ears, though no outside sound is causing it. Tinnitus can be frustrating and affect the quality of life, especially if it’s a recurring problem.
Special hearing aids are considered one of the best tinnitus treatments around. Sound machines and cognitive therapy are also effective treatments. Doctors are hard-pressed to find a treatment for a symptom that still remains a mystery.
What Causes Tinnitus?
The truth is not much is known about tinnitus itself, let alone the causes. There are wide degrees and types of tinnitus. The noise, often ringing, can be high-pitched or low-pitched. It can come and go or be a constant annoyance.
Tinnitus is connected to hearing loss, though it can occur along with other conditions or head injuries. Similar to hearing loss, there isn’t a treatment that works for everyone, making it more difficult for sufferers to find relief.
9 Things That Can Make Tinnitus Worse
While little is known about the causes or treatments, there are some behaviors and situations that make tinnitus worse. 9 things people with tinnitus should avoid include:
- Drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol can trigger excessive blood flow to the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus. Additionally, too much alcohol raises blood pressure, which also affects hearing.
- Consuming a lot of caffeine. Like alcohol, caffeine can raise blood pressure. There is a debate in the scientific community about whether coffee can help relieve tinnitus or cause it to worsen. Regardless, caffeine can affect sleeping patterns, which can increase tinnitus.
- Exposure to loud noises. You might think since you’re already suffering hearing loss, loud noises can’t hurt anything. However, exposure to loud noises – the television, rock concerts, etc. – can aggravate tinnitus.
- Taking certain medications. Over-the-counter pain medication can have many side effects. One of those may be increased tinnitus. Antidepressants and drugs used to treat cancer can also make tinnitus symptoms worsen.
- Smoking cigarettes or vaping. Smoking can restrict the blood vessels in the inner ear, causing hearing loss. Tinnitus goes hand-in-hand with hearing loss. And smoking also increases blood pressure.
- Letting earwax build up. Everyone has some amount of earwax. Typically, the ear can rid itself of the wax. However, some people have excessive earwax that needs to be removed by a professional. Muffled hearing is one of the first signs that you may need to visit an ear specialist for wax removal.
- Ignoring jaw pain. The jaw and inner ear share a ligament. When your jaw moves, your ear is affected. Ignoring jaw pain can lead to hearing issues and frequent tinnitus.
- Not getting enough shuteye. Lack of sleep can cause a plethora of problems. Unfortunately, the tinnitus is frequently the cause for insomnia, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. Tinnitus often runs rampant in the quiet because there’s no outside noise to drown it out.
- Excessive stress levels. Stress is another common problem that can present itself in many ways. Tinnitus itself can cause stress because it’s unrelenting.
See a Hearing Specialist if You Have Hearing Loss-Induced Tinnitus
There isn’t a cure yet for tinnitus. Many people suffer through, thinking there aren’t any treatments, either. However, a hearing specialist can make personal recommendations on the best treatment options to ease tinnitus.