Did you know that approximately 15% of the Americans are believed to have tinnitus? This ringing or buzzing in the ears is considered one of the most common health conditions in the nation. Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus yet. This lack of a cure makes it that much more important to protect your hearing early and often.
Here’s what you can do to lower your risk of developing tinnitus.
- Treat hearing loss – Hearing loss and tinnitus often go hand-in-hand. Treating hearing loss early, usually with hearing aids, can help prevent further hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Use hearing protection – One of the most common causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise. Using hearing protection such as earplugs can help reduce your risk of both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Avoid ototoxic medications – Whenever possible, avoid drugs such as ibuprofen and certain antibiotics known to cause damage to hearing. Work with your medical provider to identify the best options for you and your needs. When these medications are a must, carefully follow dosage guidelines to help protect your hearing health.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle – Many experts theorize that a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management can help to minimize the risk of tinnitus. A healthy lifestyle reduces your risk of chronic diseases that may cause tinnitus, such as high blood pressure.
- Stop smoking – Giving up smoking may be an excellent choice for overall health, but it may also be a smart choice to protect your hearing health and reduce the risk of tinnitus. It is believed that the nicotine in cigarettes may be linked to tinnitus as well as hearing loss.
- Give up the cotton swabs – Cotton swabs may seem like a good way to keep ears clean, but they pose a very real risk to our hearing and therefore increase our risk of tinnitus. Cotton swabs can not only cause earwax to become impacted in the ear canal but can also physically damage the eardrum, which can cause tinnitus.
How to manage tinnitus
If you are living with tinnitus, there are ways to manage it. Not only can many of the above tips help lower your risk of developing tinnitus, but they can also help minimize and manage it. Also, consider techniques such as these:
- Mindfulness meditation – Used with other therapies to help reduce the physical, mental, and emotional effects of tinnitus.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Helps reframe thinking from negative to neutral or positive.
- Sound Therapy – Cancels out the sound of tinnitus with another noise and is often paired with counseling.
- Relaxation Therapy – Helps reduce the stress that can be caused by tinnitus through deep breathing, guided relaxation, and similar exercises.
- Acupuncture, hypnosis, and other alternative therapies – While more research is needed on these, many believe that help to manage and reduce the impact of tinnitus.
Tinnitus doesn’t have to be a given. Starting now to minimize your risk and protect your hearing can help you avoid tinnitus down the road.
If you believe you have tinnitus and would like more information on managing it, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.