Red wine and too much alcohol is just one of the things you should avoid when you have tinnitus.

There are few conditions that are more complex to comprehend for people who don’t have tinnitus. That’s because unless you actually have tinnitus, you won’t feel, see or hear the symptoms in the same way you might other conditions.

But for the nearly 50 million Americans who experience some form of tinnitus, the condition is very real and is often very challenging to deal with. Tinnitus is best classified as ringing in the ears, but according to the American Tinnitus Association, it can present sufferers with clicking, whistling, hissing, swooshing, and buzzing. Maybe the most discouraging part of tinnitus is that these noises aren’t perceptible by others, which can lead to confusion, disorientation, depression and delayed diagnosis.

While that 50 million number is big, it’s even more staggering when put in the context that it means about 15 percent of the overall public battles with tinnitus. A report put out by the U.S. Center for Disease Control says that 2 million of those individuals experience symptoms that are debilitating and severe while another 20 million suffer from what’s known as burdensome and chronic tinnitus.

In order to enhance their hearing and drown out the ringing, people with tinnitus frequently turn to hearing aids. There are everyday things you can do to reduce the ringing along with using hearing aids.

If you have tinnitus here are 10 things to avoid:

  • Specific medicines; Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be very good at soothing pain, but they could actually make your tinnitus symptoms worse. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication including prescription cancer drugs or antibiotics. But before you stop taking a medication that was prescribed by your doctor, you should schedule a consultation.
  • Poor sleeping habits; When mom said you should get your eight hours of sleep every night, she wasn’t joking. Getting plenty of sleep can help you to avoid tinnitus triggers and also offers a wide range of other health benefits.
  • Smoking; Smoking is another habit that can increase your blood pressure. Also, it can make the tinnitus worse by narrowing the blood vessels to the ears.
  • Alcohol; Your cholesterol and heart health can be positively impacted by drinking a small glass of wine daily, or so the old adage goes. But with regards to alcohol and tinnitus, you can have too much of a good thing. Drinking too much alcohol increases your blood pressure, which makes the ringing more evident for many people.
  • Jaw issues; You should see a doctor if you have pain in your jaw and even more so if you are experiencing tinnitus. Since the jaw and ears share components like nerves and ligaments, minimizing jaw pain may have an effect on your tinnitus.
  • Excess earwax; When it comes to how your ears work, there’s no doubt that earwax plays a positive role. But actually dirt is trapped and our ears are protected by this sludge that we hate. That said, too much buildup can cause tinnitus to get worse. Your doctor might be able to help you relieve some of the buildup and supply prevention advice to make sure it doesn’t build up to a dangerous level again.
  • Loud sounds; This one probably seems obvious, but it’s worth reiterating that loud noises can worsen the sounds you’re already hearing internally. If a scenario happens where you will be exposed to loud sounds, be careful. This includes concerts, loud restaurants, and construction sites. Consider protecting your ears with earplugs if you can’t steer clear of the noise. Individuals who work at loud jobs are especially benefited by ear plugs.
  • Infections; Since a lingering cold can quickly turn into a sinus infection there has always been commentary about the need to find a cure for it. Infections in both the ears and sinus have been known to aggravate tinnitus, so be sure you’re doing everything you can to limit your exposure to infections.
  • Hazardous blood pressure levels; If you want to keep your tinnitus at bay you should monitor your blood pressure which can also help protect you from other ailments. It’s important to note that both high and low blood pressure levels can make your tinnitus worse, so you should be persistent about regularly checking your blood pressure.
  • Caffeine; Here’s yet another influencer of blood pressure that can cause a rise in levels. You will most likely notice a change in sleeping habits if you drink too much caffeine.

Though there’s no official cure for tinnitus, there are ways to regulate the symptoms and take back your life. Give these 10 recommendations a try, and you may be surprised with the improvements in your symptoms and your overall health. If these don’t help, set up an appointment with a hearing care professional.