My Personal Tips on Alleviating the Ringing

I’ve compiled a few tips that have helped me cope with the ringing in my ears when it gets unbearable. Some of these tips are long term and others are short term solutions. At any rate, these tips should help as they certainly did for me.

  1. Stop the noise. As anyone who has ever attended a loud rock concert knows, the noise lingers on long after the melody ceases. But you may be raising your risk for tinnitus every day if you blast the volume of your iPod, Walkman, or other portable music device and find that your ears still ring long after you have removed the headphones. Worse, you could end up with temporary or even permanent hearing loss. Every additional exposure to loud noise damages the tiny hair cells in the inner ear even more, reducing the chance that damaged cells might heal or that the central nervous system might develop a tolerance level to block the noise out over time.
  2. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a fan of loud music to endanger your hearing. Many people, such as factory and construction workers, are exposed to the harmful effects of loud noise on the job. Some hobbies, such as hunting or target shooting, may damage hair cells, too. So turn down the volume of your music, and if your job or hobby exposes you to loud noise, wear adequate hearing protection.
  3. Check your blood pressure. Ringing sounds in the ears can often be traced to high blood pressure. If that’s the case, think of the ringing as a warning bell to get a complete physical checkup, since blood pressure that is high enough to produce tinnitus may well be wreaking havoc elsewhere in the body. High blood pressure is a primary risk factor for heart disease that, unlike the ringing in your ears, you should never try to ignore.
  4. Lick the salt habit. Sodium is not always problematic for tinnitus sufferers. If you have an inner-ear disorder such as Meniere’s disease or have high blood pressure, however, you should cut out sodium as much as possible. And don’t simply put away the saltshaker. Become a careful label reader and look for stealth sources of sodium in your diet, such as snacks, deli meats, frozen foods, and canned soups. Search out foods labeled “sodium free,” which means that the item has less than five milligrams of sodium per serving.
  5. Limit aspirin. Aspirin in high doses often causes reversible tinnitus for a day after it is taken. And if aspirin is taken on a regular basis — say, for arthritis or chronic pain — there’s a risk of damage to the hair cells in the ear, although it may still depend to some extent on how much is taken on a regular basis (damage is less likely in those who take a baby aspirin each day for their heart, for example). Try to limit your intake of aspirin to see if your tinnitus improves (if the aspirin has been prescribed by a doctor, however, check with the doctor first). Be sure to check labels on any other over the-counter medications you take, too, since many of them contain aspirin. If you take aspirin for a chronic conditions, talk to your doctor about alternate medications.

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