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

For those who don’t suffer from tinnitus, there are few conditions more difficult to understand. The problem with tinnitus is that if you are not afflicted with it, you won’t hear, see or feel the symptoms in the same way you would other ailments.

But for the almost 50 million Americans who experience some form of tinnitus, the problem is very real and is often very challenging to deal with. Ringing in the ears is the best description of tinnitus, but the American Tinnitus Association says, it can present sufferers with buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing and clicking. These sounds aren’t detectable by others and that might be the most frustrating part of tinnitus, which can lead to confusion, disorientation, depression and delayed diagnosis.

The number is really astonishing when you take into consideration that 15 percent of the overall public has tinnitus. A report put out 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 suffer from what’s classified as burdensome and chronic tinnitus.

There’s a common link between loss of hearing and tinnitus, which is why people frequently turn to hearing aids to augment their hearing and to drown out the ringing. There are everyday things you can do to minimize the ringing along with wearing hearing aids.

Here are 10 things to stay away from if you suffer from tinnitus:

  • Caffeine; Here’s yet another influencer of blood pressure that can cause a rise in levels. You may also find that too much caffeine alters your sleeping habits.
  • Smoking; Smoking is another habit that can raise your blood pressure. What’s more, it can shrink the blood vessels to the ears, which can make tinnitus symptoms more severe.
  • Loud sounds; It may be obvious but the noises you’re hearing internally can be exacerbated by loud sounds. Be mindful of circumstances where you’ll be exposed to sounds at an elevated volume. This includes concerts, loud restaurants, and construction sites. Consider protecting your ears with earplugs if you can’t avoid the noise. Earplugs can be especially helpful for individuals whose job involves working around loud machinery.
  • Poor sleeping habits; Mom wasn’t kidding when she said you needed those eight hours every night. Sleep is another essential aspect of healthy living that offers a wide range of benefits, including helping to avoid triggers of tinnitus.
  • Jaw issues; You should consult a doctor if you have pain in your jaw and even more so if you have tinnitus. Since the jaw and ears share components such as nerves and ligaments, reducing jaw pain may have an effect on your tinnitus.
  • Particular medicines; Over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be really effective at soothing pain, but they may actually make your tinnitus symptoms worse. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication like prescription cancer drugs or antibiotics. However, you should always talk with your physician about any problems you’re having before stopping a prescribed medication.
  • 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 sinus and ears have been known to intensify tinnitus, so be certain you’re doing everything you can to control your exposure to infections.
  • Harmful blood pressure levels; Monitoring your blood pressure is a vital preventive tip that will help keep you safe from many illnesses, but it also just may keep your tinnitus symptoms in check. You should be diligent about consistently checking your blood pressure because both high and low blood pressure can worsen tinnitus.
  • Excess earwax; There’s no doubt that earwax is helpful in the grand scheme of how your ears work. As a matter of fact, the crud we all hate actually catches dirt and protects your ears. That being said, too much accumulation can make tinnitus worse. To make sure it doesn’t accumulate to a dangerous amount, your doctor can clear some of it out and help with prevention.
  • Alcohol; There’s a well-known adage that states drinking a small glass of wine daily can have a positive influence on heart health and cholesterol levels, and that could be true; however, you absolutely can have too much of a good thing with regards to alcohol and tinnitus. For some people drinking too much alcohol causes tinnitus symptoms to be louder because it tends to increase your blood pressure.

Even though there’s no official cure for tinnitus, there are ways to regulate the symptoms and take back your life. Give these 10 recommendations a shot, and you might be pleasantly surprised with the improvements in your symptoms and your general health. If these don’t help, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.