Can Tinnitus be Prevented?
Tinnitus is a fairly common condition, with affected people tending to hear sounds that are not actually there. In many cases, these sounds are distressing for the individual, often causing secondary issues such as depression, insomnia, and fatigue.
Given the issues that tinnitus can cause, it is natural to wonder if the condition can be prevented. In this piece, we’re going to look deeper into the question of tinnitus prevention in order to ensure you are as well-informed as possible regarding this critical aspect of overall ear health maintenance.
Can tinnitus be prevented?
There is no direct way that tinnitus can be 100 percent prevented, unfortunately. The reason for this is due to the nature of tinnitus itself.
In many cases, tinnitus is not a condition in and of itself; it functions more as a symptom of an underlying illness. However, tinnitus can also be idiopathic, with no known cause.
When focusing on prevention, it is only possible to look for ways of preventing the first type of tinnitus; tinnitus that occurs as a result of a secondary issue. Idiopathic tinnitus is impossible to prevent, as there is no known risk factor or cause that can be avoided or guarded against.
As a result, we can conclude that you can greatly lessen your chances of experiencing tinnitus, but any hearing health professional will tell you it can never be completely prevented – even if you do everything you should, there’s still a chance you may develop idiopathic tinnitus.
How can you reduce the chances of experiencing tinnitus as a symptom?
While it is impossible to prevent all instances of tinnitus, you can greatly reduce your chances of experiencing the condition as a symptom by:
- Have your hearing tested frequently. Tinnitus is a little-known sign of hearing loss, so visit an audiologist regularly for a hearing test to identify any underlying issues.
- Avoid exposure to loud noise. There is a strong correlation between noise exposure and instances of tinnitus, so avoid loud noise wherever possible, and use ear protection when spending time in a noisy environment (such as a concert or sporting event).
- Visit a professional for earwax removal. Excessive earwax can cause tinnitus, so if you experience issues in this regard, having this wax buildup removed by a professional can help to prevent tinnitus developing.
- Check your medication. Some medications – including quinine, diuretics, and some cancer medications – can cause tinnitus. If you have been prescribed a medication that lists tinnitus as a side effect, talk to your primary care physician about potential alternatives.
- Undergo regular physicals. Health conditions such as anemia and hypertension (high blood pressure) can cause tinnitus, so attend regular physicals in order to ensure you’re in the best possible physical health.
- Avoid using cotton swabs. Many people use cotton swabs to clean their ears, but this practice can cause ear infections – and ear infections can cause acute bouts of tinnitus. As a result, avoiding the use of cotton swabs in general – but especially near the ear canal – is highly recommended.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to entirely prevent all instances of tinnitus. However, as we have discussed, there are ways and means of greatly reducing your chances of experiencing tinnitus in the future.