Most of us have, or will at some point experience tinnitus. That loathsome and persistent ringing that seems to get louder and louder as your surroundings get quieter. For many of us tinnitus is irritating but fleeting. It tends to go away after we spend time in quiet, calm surroundings. For an unlucky few, however, it can be chronic and persistent. It can be distracting, prevent us from being able to concentrate at work while also making it harder for us to hear. For those of us who experience tinnitus on a near constant basis, it may seem to go away for a short period of time but keep coming back, turning up again and again like a bad penny. The good news, however, is that tinnitus can be prevented. But before we look into how to do this, it’s important to spend some time to understand what tinnitus is.

Getting to know the causes of tinnitus

Tinnitus is not a condition in and of itself. Rather, it is a symptom, the cause of which needs to be addressed if you are to say goodbye to the irritation of tinnitus for good. Common causes of tinnitus include:

  • Buildup of earwax
  • Age related hearing loss
  • Genetic conditions like Meniere’s Disease
  • Ear infections
  • Pregnancy
  • Regular exposure to loud noises
  • Benign tumors on the cranial nerve
  • Head and neck injuries

The better you know the cause of your tinnitus, the better equipped you are to dispel or at least manage it effectively. The bad news is that no amount of medication can make tinnitus go away. The good news, however, is that in most cases tinnitus can be prevented. Ways to prevent or reduce the risk of tinnitus include:

Avoiding stress

High blood pressure (hypertension) caused by stress can bring about or exacerbate the effects of tinnitus. For this reason, it is advisable to take steps to manage stress levels. Great ways to do this include relaxation therapies and regular exercise. Be good to your body while preventing the onset of tinnitus.

Cutting out caffeine, salt and alcohol

Sorry coffee lovers; caffeine can narrow the blood vessels leading to the ears thereby making your tinnitus worse. Still, you can get all the delicious taste and aroma without the annoying ringing in your ears by switching to decaf. The same goes for salt, although this can be harder to avoid as it is so ubiquitous and smuggled into so many foods (especially ready made foods). Those with persistent tinnitus may also find that managing their alcohol intake more stringently helps tinnitus to abate.

Protect your ears

If you play in a band, attend live music events regularly or work with loud machinery, you really need to protect your ears unless you want to be constantly plagued by tinnitus. The good news is that it’s easy and affordable to do this. Music lovers can find ear plugs which will reduce the volume of the music they enjoy without masking or distorting the nuances of the music they love.

Get your ears cleaned

If a buildup of hardened wax is the root cause of your tinnitus, getting your ears cleaned out will make it go away. In addition, for individuals who produce excess earwax, regular cleaning of the ears will help prevent the condition from returning.

How a hearing health professionals can help

A hearing health professional can conduct a series of tests and a rigorous examination of your ear canal while also investigating your family and medical history to determine the cause of your tinnitus. They can either equip you with a solution like a hearing aid to prevent tinnitus. Even if they are unable to help, they can refer you to an ENT clinic who can provide you with the support you need.