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Lifestyle Habits that Contribute to Tinnitus

a woman experiencing ear discomfort

As a symptom, tinnitus can have a wide range of contributing factors that cause it. Many of these contributing factors can be directly linked to our own lifestyle habits. If you’re concerned about the risk of developing or exacerbating tinnitus, then here are a few of the habits that you might want to address.

Exposure to Loud Noises

Hearing loss and tinnitus are often very closely linked together. This is, in part, because of the fact that they can both be caused by the deterioration of the inner ear. Noise exposure is the most notable cause of tinnitus and hearing loss at the same time and can be prevented by wearing ear protection as well as keeping personal listening devices to a lower level.

Drinking

There are a host of lifestyle habits that can result in changes to the blood flow, which can then go on to contribute to your experience of tinnitus. Alcohol relaxes the peripheral blood vessels which can result in both a drop in blood pressure and an increase in your heart rate.

Smoking

Contrary to drinking, nicotine causes your blood vessels to constrict, which reduces the flow of blood through the body and raises your blood pressure. Both raising and lowering your blood pressure can be causes of tinnitus. As such, taking steps to reduce or quit smoking or drinking is often recommended by audiologists when talking about long-term approaches to treating tinnitus.

Dietary Choices

Much like the contributing factors mentioned above, your diet is another lifestyle habit that can greatly affect your blood flow and, as a result, triggers of tinnitus. Drinking too much caffeine and eating too much salt are both particularly well known to worsen tinnitus symptoms.

Stress

It is not entirely known if stress is a cause of tinnitus or simply a contributing factor. However, the experience of tinnitus can often be exacerbated by stress, which may be in part because stress can make us more acutely aware of the things that are bothering us. What is known is that stress and tinnitus often come in pairs. Treatment methods like tinnitus retraining therapy will often include steps like deep breathing exercises and stress management tools to help treat both sides of the coin at the same time. 

Lack of Sleep

A lack of sleep can affect your blood flow, raising your heart rate and increasing blood pressure, which may be a trigger for tinnitus. What’s more, an inability to sleep can lead to more stress, which can exacerbate your tinnitus. Sound machines are an effective treatment for many to improve sleep at night by reducing the prevalence of tinnitus sounds.

When treating tinnitus, it is likely that your audiologist will recommend that you make lifestyle modifications. However, your audiologist may be able to recommend a host of treatments that offer relief, so it’s recommended that you get in touch with your audiologist as soon as you can if you experience tinnitus.