Tinnitus is the ringing in the ears often tied to hearing loss and other medical issues like blood vessel disorders and injuries. While seeking treatment from an audiologist is the best course of action to effectively treat tinnitus at its source, there are lifestyle habits that can either help detract from your tinnitus or make it seem worse. Follow these practical tips for minimizing your tinnitus alongside professional help.

1. Cover it up

Tinnitus is more noticeable when there is little other stimulation to distract you from it. If a tinnitus flare-up is causing you stress, look for sounds and noises that will get your focus off the ringing in your ears and on to something pleasant. This might mean turning on a fan, turning on the radio (at low volume) or moving to a location with background noise and activity.

2. Watch what you put into your body

Substances like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can make tinnitus worse. Alcohol specifically increases blood flow and pressure to the inner ear area, increasing the sound of tinnitus. Having tinnitus doesn’t mean you have to do without your morning coffee or enjoy a drink now and then; just be aware of how these substances interact with your tinnitus.

3. Practice good ear hygiene

Tinnitus can sometimes be a simple case of earwax buildup interfering with hearing functions. Washing your outer ears, using safe at-home earwax softeners or scheduling regular cleanings with an audiologist if you’re prone to earwax buildup can help prevent this cause of tinnitus.

4. Get some exercise

Good cardiovascular health helps prevent tinnitus caused by blood vessel disorders like high blood pressure and has the added benefit of alleviating stress – something else that can make your tinnitus symptoms worse.

5. Avoid loud noise

Tinnitus is often caused by overexposure to loud noise over time, so wear ear protection and listen to music at low volumes to keep your hearing safe, prevent tinnitus and keep your symptoms manageable.

Remember, these tips should be practiced alongside the help of an audiologist who can further minimize your tinnitus symptoms by diagnosing and treating it at its source. Talk more with your audiologist about the different treatment options available for your specific needs.