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Hidden Triggers That Worsen Your Tinnitus

Image of Man using computer drinking coffee, tinnitus triggers.

The ringing in your ears seems to be getting worse, or at least it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Learn more about the triggers that exacerbate your tinnitus. Some of them may surprise you.

Stress And Emotional Well-Being

Check-in with your mental and emotional health. Stress raises your blood pressure and will exacerbate your tinnitus. Find time to center yourself and calm your mind. Take up yoga, meditation, or take a quiet walk each day.

Depression is often a hidden trigger that can get the best of you. Failing to cope with tinnitus can lead to a vicious cycle between your emotional and physiological symptoms. A tinnitus flare-up creates anxiety, which raises your blood pressure and further worsens the ringing in your ears.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy offers relief by reworking the negative emotions associated with tinnitus. Having a less severe reaction to a flare-up will put you on the right track to reducing anxiety and depression.


Using cotton swabs pushes old earwax back into your ear canal. This causes your ears to produce more wax that blocks the canal. Blockages are common tinnitus triggers, so seek professional help to have earwax safely removed.

Medication, Smoking, And Alcohol

Ask your doctor if any of your medications could affect your hearing. Ototoxic medications are harmful to your ears and will worsen your tinnitus. Work with your doctor to research alternative medication options.

Smoking and drinking in excess are detrimental to your health. Smokers are 15% more like to suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus than non-smokers because the chemicals in cigarettes can damage your inner ear.

Track your alcohol intake and note when your tinnitus flares up. You may find the ringing in your ears gets worse after you’ve had a few drinks. This is because alcohol raises blood pressure and reduces blood flow to your ears, killing off the irreplaceable hair cells that transmit sound to your brain.


Lack of sleep goes hand-in-hand with tinnitus flare-ups. If tinnitus is keeping you up at night, try a white noise machine or quiet music to balance out the ringing. Cut out caffeine, sugar, and alcohol in the afternoon. Using blue light-emitting devices like smartphones and tablets also inhibits your body from producing the sleep hormone melatonin.

Come to Hearing Associates to learn more about our testing, services, and treatment options. Call 888.760.2032 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.