If you feel like your tinnitus gets worse in the winter, it is not your imagination. While this auditory symptom can cause problems for people at any time of year, the colder season seems to be a time of year that symptoms spike. In fact, a recent study showed that Google searches for tinnitus increase during the winter season. Experts have a few theories behind the increase, as well as some theories on how to combat seasonal triggers.
Why Tinnitus Gets Worse in Winter
There is no one factor that makes tinnitus worse in the winter season. Instead, several conspire to exacerbate tinnitus in many people. When these factors come together, stronger tinnitus symptoms are the result. A few of the factors that make tinnitus worse:
- Winter colds and flu. In some people, winter illnesses can contribute to tinnitus symptoms. Congestion can interfere with your hearing, which makes tinnitus more noticeable.
- Cold weather. When it is cold outside, our ears produce more ear wax as a form of insulation. The wax can muffle noise, which will make tinnitus more noticeable as mentioned above.
- Holiday stress. When people are under stress, it is often correlated with an increase in the severity of their tinnitus symptoms. The holiday season is jam-packed with parties, disruptions to routines, and other obligations, so it is also a common time of year for people to feel excess pressure.
- Increased caffeine consumption. Do you find that darker winter skies leave you wanting a pick-me-up in the afternoon? That extra bit of caffeine may help with energy levels, but it can also make tinnitus symptoms worse.
Combating Winter Tinnitus
Understanding what is triggering increases in symptoms is a big part of figuring out how to defeat them. Try keeping track of when you notice tinnitus most and see if any of your activities correlate with the triggers above. Avoiding those triggers may help you cut down on the severity of your tinnitus symptoms. For instance, if you find that your tinnitus gets worse on the days you drink coffee in the afternoons, try switching to a decaffeinated drink instead.
Avoiding exposure to cold and flu germs can also help. Stay well hydrated, wash hands often, and get a flu shot early in the season.
Professional assessments can also help you identify what makes your tinnitus worse and the best ways to avoid it. At U.S. Hearing Solutions, we can uncover the source of your symptoms and help you find relief. Get in touch with us today to learn more.