Tinnitus levels can vary each day for different reasons. Sometimes it’s a physiological condition within your body, your surrounding environment, or the type of tinnitus management that you practice. We’ll go over some factors that can affect the sounds of this phantom noise.
Stressors can Affect the Volume of Tinnitus
Stress is one of the primary agents of tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms may become bothersome during a stressful moment in life, or when we’re having a stressful day.
When there’s a significant shift in life, whether it’s at home or with your job, stress lets the body react and respond mentally, emotionally, and physically. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to an imbalance which can trigger louder tinnitus on some days over other days.
Common causes of stress can include life-altering circumstances such as grieving a loved one or losing a job. A steady flow of stress that is caused by ordinary circumstances such as deadlines for work, or caring for loved ones, can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Living through these situations can make your tinnitus sound louder on some days and quieter on other days.
Conditions caused by stress are also associated with tinnitus and make the phantom noise worse. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and tinnitus have comparable structures and can bring attention to one another.
Taming Internal Stressors
Even though external stress can impact the perceived loudness of your tinnitus, the way you manage the stress (a.k.a. internal stress) is just as important. If your body is not sufficient or healthy enough to deal with external stress, tinnitus symptoms can get worse.
In order to better manage stress, you need proper nutrition, exercise, and an adquent amount of sleep that’s consistent.
Your Diet’s Influence on Stress
It’s easy to ignore the persistent messages from experts encouraging you to eat healthily, but it’s one of the crucial elements to lowering your stress levels and keeping them down in order to better manage your tinnitus.
Processed foods should be left out of your diet, as consuming them makes it harder to manage stress. These foods are often high in sugar. If there’s too much change in your blood sugar levels, the sympathetic area of the nervous system becomes stimulated. This is the area of the brain that handles our fight or flight and makes us ready to react. When this occurs, stress hormones are released which can lead to symptoms of stress. These could include anxiety, irritability, nervousness, and interruptions in sleep patterns, which can be common while experiencing symptoms of tinnitus.
A healthy and well-balanced diet also lets us replace nutrients and vitamins, which may be expended during stressful moments. For example, vitamins B complex, iron, magnesium, and zinc can help aid with stress.
Tinnitus can seem worse after consuming caffeine, alcohol, or smoking cigarettes. These tend to raise your adrenaline. It doesn’t need to be a permanent change, but it’s helpful to let your body get used to this new diet to see if it has any impact on your symptoms.
Sleepless Nights and Stress
Sleep is VERY crucial in keeping a healthy body and mind. Less sleep = more stress and louder symptoms of tinnitus.
A good night’s rest allows you to better handle stress. Giving your body a chance to recover and rest is important to properly manage stress. Poor rest can affect your mood, memory, and judgment.
Exercise to Manage Stress
Struggling to manage your stress, can make tinnitus worse. And tinnitus itself can be stressful. It’s a vicious cycle. This can trigger the sympathetic part of our autonomic nervous system. That indicates that there are more stress hormones moving throughout the body like adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline.
Try to lower these hormones by engaging in a relaxing exercise, like yoga. The more relaxed you feel the quieter tinnitus symptoms can be.
Quiet Environments and Tinnitus
Tinnitus can seem louder because of your surroundings. If your environment is too quiet, tinnitus will be more noticeable.
Lower noise levels in the background that are meant to mask tinnitus can actually make the symptoms seem louder.
Also, silence can activate a response to stress in the body which increases internal auditory sensitivity. Your hearing can become more perceptive while getting yourself ready for a possible threat. This form of hearing can make internal noises, like tinnitus, louder.
Going from a loud environment to a quieter area can make it seem like the tinnitus has gotten worse. Give yourself time to adjust. This might involve rubbing our ears, doing breathing exercises, and practicing mindfulness when we respond to symptoms of tinnitus.
Focus your attention on something else, meditate with music in the background, use a sound machine, or if you are also noticing difficulty with hearing in addition to tinnitus, try hearing aids. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and hearing trial.