We are deep into fall and approaching winter. The days are shorter and colder, and with the change in weather, you may have noticed an increase in your tinnitus. If so, you’re not alone.
A study looking at internet search trends for the term tinnitus found that “there are significant seasonal trends for Internet search queries for tinnitus, with a zenith in winter months.”
Let’s examine some of the reasons why tinnitus might spike in cold weather, as well as what you can do to manage your symptoms.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a ringing in the ear. However, some people experience it as a buzzing, clicking, roaring or hissing sound as well. It’s a symptom of other conditions, including hearing loss to circulatory problems, among many more. In addition to causes, tinnitus can also be worsened by certain triggers.
When it comes to the cold, it’s not so much that exposure to the cold directly causes tinnitus but rather that certain factors that aggravate your tinnitus may be more likely to occur in the winter months.
Why Your Tinnitus May Be Worse in the Winter
Cold weather can cause earwax to harden, potentially resulting in a blockage. In addition to a feeling of fullness and pressure, too much earwax can cause other ear-related symptoms like temporary hearing loss and tinnitus.
Other reasons your tinnitus may be worse in the winter include:
- Nasal pressure from any colds or viruses you catch
- Seasonal anxiety and depression
- Getting less physical activity due to the colder weather
- Drinking more coffee to stay warm (caffeine can exacerbate tinnitus)
- Drinking more alcohol at holiday parties and other events
- Higher stress levels and worsening sleep quality
Stop Your Ears From Ringing This Winter
- Wear protective gear. Stop by a clothing store at South Park Mall and pick up a thermal hat or earmuffs to keep your ears warm.
- If you’re experiencing earwax buildup, visit an ENT specialist for safe earwax removal or ask your doctor about potential home care steps.
- Wearing hearing aids if your tinnitus is associated with hearing loss.
- Schedule an appointment for a hearing test if the ringing has worsened.
- Treat any underlying conditions that are causing or worsening your tinnitus. While it isn’t always possible to find a cause, identifying and treating the reason behind your tinnitus is often the best step in reducing or eliminating your symptoms.
- Try other management techniques like tinnitus retraining therapy, relaxation techniques and/or cognitive behavioral therapy.
For more information on dealing with tinnitus spikes in the winter, call the experts at Nelson Hearing Clinics today.