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

For people who don’t have tinnitus, there aren’t many conditions more difficult to understand. That’s because unless you’re afflicted with tinnitus, you won’t feel, see or hear the symptoms in the same way you might other conditions.

Tinnitus is a very real and extremely challenging experience for the almost 50 million Americans who suffer from it. Tinnitus is best described as ringing in the ears, but the American Tinnitus Association says, it can present sufferers with buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing and clicking. Maybe the most frustrating part of tinnitus is that these sounds aren’t perceptible by others, which can lead to disorientation, delayed diagnosis, confusion, and depression.

While that 50 million number is large, it’s even more astounding when put in the context that it means about 15 percent of the general public struggles with tinnitus. A report released by the U.S. Center for Disease Control says that 2 million of those individuals experience symptoms that are debilitating and extreme while another 20 million have what’s considered burdensome and chronic tinnitus.

In order to augment their hearing and drown out the ringing, people with tinnitus frequently try hearing aids. There are commonplace things you can do to reduce the ringing along with using hearing aids.

If you have tinnitus here are 10 things to avoid:

  • Loud noises; This one probably seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating that loud noises can worsen the sounds you’re already hearing internally. Be cautious of circumstances where you’ll hear sounds at an increased volume. This can include concerts, loud restaurants, and construction sites. If you can’t abstain from loud settings, consider using earplugs to shield you from some of the noise. Earplugs can be particularly helpful for people whose job involves using loud machinery.
  • Jaw issues; You should consult a doctor if you have jaw pain and even more so if you have tinnitus. Because the jaw and ears share components like nerves and ligaments, alleviating jaw pain might have an impact on your tinnitus.
  • Smoking; Smoking is another habit that can increase your blood pressure. What’s more, it can shrink the blood vessels to the ears, which can make tinnitus symptoms more severe.
  • Some medicines; Over-the-counter medications including aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be quite effective at easing pain, but they may actually increase your tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication including prescription antibiotics or cancer drugs. However, you should always talk with your physician about any problems you’re having before dropping a prescribed medication.
  • Alcohol; Your cholesterol and heart health can be positively impacted by drinking a small amount of wine every day, or so the old saying goes. But when it comes to alcohol and tinnitus, you can have too much of a good thing. For some people drinking too much alcohol makes tinnitus symptoms more evident because it tends to raise your blood pressure.
  • Caffeine; Here again, a surge 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.
  • Poor sleeping habits; When mom said you need to get your eight hours of sleep each night, she wasn’t kidding. Sleep is another crucial aspect of a healthy life 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. Infections in both the ears and sinus have been known to intensify tinnitus, so be sure you’re doing everything you can to limit your exposure to infections.
  • Excess earwax; There’s no doubt that earwax serves a beneficial role in the in the overall health of your ears. But actually dirt is trapped and our ears are protected by this gunk that we hate. That being said, too much accumulation can cause tinnitus to get worse. Your doctor may be able to help you get rid of some of the accumulation and give you prevention tips to make sure it doesn’t build up to a dangerous level again.
  • Harmful blood pressure levels; Keeping track of your blood pressure is a vital preventive strategy that will help keep you safe from many conditions, but it also just might keep your tinnitus symptoms in check. You should be persistent about regularly checking your blood pressure because both high and low blood pressure can make tinnitus worse.

Although there’s no established cure for tinnitus, there are ways to control the symptoms and take back your life. You might be surprised in the changes in your general health and your tinnitus symptoms if you try these 10 suggestions. If these don’t help, set up an appointment with a hearing care professional.