Tinnitus is an auditory disturbance where the sufferer hears a ringing, buzzing, humming or other noise in their ears that isn’t there. It can be caused by problems with your ears or your brain. Sometimes tinnitus can happen temporarily, such as after a loud concert. Other times it can be a chronic condition that happens 24/7, or comes and goes. For people who suffer from this type of chronic tinnitus, it can range from a minor annoyance to a debilitating condition. Tinnitus affects about 15-20% of the population. Although there are multiple causes of tinnitus and sometimes it is unavoidable, there are steps you can take to decrease the likelihood that you will experience tinnitus. Here are some tips to lessen your chance of getting tinnitus:
- Protect your ears. Loud noises from engines, machinery, fireworks, shooting firearms, and concerts can all damage your hearing with repeated exposures over time. Use soft earplugs when you need to be around loud noises. Add another layer of hearing protection if the sound is going to be particularly loud.
- Distance yourself from sounds. If you are going to be at a concert, book seats or stand further away from the speakers. The more space you can put between yourself and a loud noise, the safer it is for your ears. It can also help to give your ears intermittent breaks by regularly walking away from a loud noise if you must be exposed to it.
- Limit time spent around loud sounds. Even if a noise doesn’t seem particularly loud, such as the sound of a running kitchen blender, it can lead to tinnitus over prolonged exposure. The time will vary depending on the decibels of the sound, but be aware of it and try to limit your exposure if possible.
- Use caution with earbuds. Headphones and earbuds must be set to lower volumes to protect you from hearing loss and tinnitus. Noise cancelling headphones are a good option, since dampening interfering noises will help you hear from your headphones at a lower volume. Test your volume by having a friend stand next to you. If they can hear sound from your earbuds/headphones, the volume is too high.
- Quit smoking. Smokers are more likely to experience tinnitus. Add this to the already long list of reasons to quit smoking to protect your health.
- Protect your heart. Heart health is an important factor for preventing tinnitus. Since disorders of the blood vessels can lead to tinnitus, it is important to keep them healthy with exercise and a good diet. Staying healthy can also prevent your need to use certain medications that can cause tinnitus. There are so many reasons to keep your body healthy with a diet and exercise regimen.
- De-stress your life. People with existing tinnitus or a tendency to experience tinnitus could help alleviate or prevent it by managing stress. Stress can cause muscle contractions which can exacerbate the perception of tinnitus sounds. Manage your stress with relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, relaxing with friends and family, taking a walk, or other calming activity that you enjoy. This is important not only for tinnitus, but for other illnesses and pains you may be suffering from. Stress can make you feel worse from virtually any condition.
- Check your head posture. Keeping good posture over time and preventing neck injuries (such as those from whiplash incidents) can aid in the prevention of tinnitus. For some existing tinnitus sufferers, head posture can play a role in whether or not they are experiencing tinnitus noises. If you are someone who is currently or has had tinnitus, experiment with different head and neck postures to see if one works for you.
Chronic tinnitus can bring sufferers a whole host of other physical effects such as fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, problems with sleep, and other unpleasant side effects. Why put up with these uncomfortable symptoms any longer, when there are treatments available?
If you find yourself suffering already with chronic tinnitus, seek help from a local ENT center in Utah. The Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic serves patients in both Magna and Tooele, UT. By visiting a local ENT specialist, you will get the personal, professional expertise you need to overcome your tinnitus. Dr. Alan Jones is committed to helping his patients through ear, nose, and throat conditions such as tinnitus, nasal obstruction, thyroid disorders, sleep disorders, and more. With over 15 years of experience, Dr. Jones brings the experience required to help solve your ENT issues.