When you live with Tinnitus the constant noise can drive you crazy. But every sufferer knows that it’s the spikes that can really mess with your head.
When your Tinnitus spikes, it gets a lot louder, and the sound can change. You might hear additional tones or noises that weren’t there before. And while these flare ups may seem to happen randomly, it’s not generally the case.
More often than not, spikes are triggered by something external in your environment, or by some problematic aspect of your health or lifestyle.
How to find your Tinnitus Triggers:
There are a large number of potential Tinnitus triggers, but every case is unique. What affects one person’s Tinnitus may not affect yours at all, or might even improve your Tinnitus. There’s a huge amount of variance, and without the right approach, it’s nearly impossible to figure out what’s triggering you.
Think about it, if your Tinnitus flares up at 3 pm because of something you ate for breakfast, you aren’t automatically going to make the connection. It’s only one example, but this sort of missed association happens all the time. Most of us are just not very good at making these kinds of connections on our own.
There is, however, an easy way around this mental shortcoming. A simple practice as old as time: keeping a journal. When we have the right information in front of us, we’re actually very good at finding patterns. And if you can identify the triggers that make your Tinnitus worse, you can avoid them.
Not only can it help to reduce the number of spikes, but it will also give you the information you need to make better decisions for your health.
I created a free one-page PDF journal template tool to help you keep track all of the right information. Enter your email address below to have your free copy of the Tinnitus Trigger Tool delivered right to your inbox!
Before I get into anything specific, I want to point out that there isn’t actually a whole lot of research linking many of the common Triggers to Tinnitus spikes.
We don’t have all the answers, and a lot more research is still needed. But it also doesn’t change the fact that anecdotally, many people find that certain activities, foods, supplements, drugs, and environmental factors, can trigger fluctuations in the sound of their Tinnitus.
Commonly Reported Tinnitus Triggers:
- Certain noises
- Loud Sound exposure
- Sleep Deprivation
- Certain medications, supplements, and vitamins
- High sodium diet
- High Sugar diet
- Nicotine (all forms)
- Recreational Drugs
- Food Sensitivities
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
- Specific Changes in the weather
- Changes in Barometric Pressure
What to track:
Tinnitus Severity: Describe your Tinnitus in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Keep track of the perceived volume, intensity, and your disturbance level.
Diet: Keep track of meals, snacks, total sodium, total sugar, total water consumed, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
Weather: Keep track of the general forecast, the temperature range, Barometric Pressure, and pollen count.
Medications: Track all medications, vitamins, and supplements, whether prescription or over-the-counter. Record the time taken and the dosage.
Noise Exposure: Track your noise exposure. Were you exposed to loud sounds? Did you listen to music with headphones? At what volume level and for how long?
Exercise: Keep track of how you exercise and for how long.
Sleep: Track what time you woke up, what time you went to bed, and the quality of your sleep.
Stress: Keep track of your stress levels, your stressors, and any attempts to mitigate the stress, like meditation.
I know it’s a lot to keep track of, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. To make it easy, I’ve created a free tool to help you track all of the right information. It’s a one-page PDF journal template.
Simply enter your email address below to have your free copy of the Tinnitus Trigger Tool delivered right to your inbox!
After a little bit of time, you can go back and compare the days that your Tinnitus spiked. It makes it incredibly easy to find the patterns. You can also compare your best days to identify the specific things that are helping to improve your Tinnitus.
I do, however, want to mention that in the process of discovering your triggers, you may find that your Tinnitus is triggered by forces that are outside of your control. Or worse, you may struggle to identify anything specific causing the fluctuations in the first place. But don’t give up hope.
The goal here is to spot correlations and general trends. You may just need more data before the patterns become clear. And when you do identify your triggers, you can focus your energy on avoiding the triggers you can control.
I highly encourage you to give this try.
Discovering and avoiding your triggers can help to reduce the intensity of your Tinnitus and the number of spikes you experience. And it will give you some of your power back. It offers you more control over your situation and enables you to make more informed choices as you go about your life.
I wish you the best of luck in your journey with Tinnitus!
Want to learn more?
I recently published a book about my journey called Rewiring Tinnitus: How I Finally Found Relief From the Ringing in My Ears. It’s filled with everything you need to find relief including tools, techniques, strategies, meditations and so much more.
P.S. If you know of any other common triggers I may have missed, share them in the comments below.
Over exposure to chemicals and solvents possibly
My tinnitus has been terribly spiked by an intense migraine. Migraine gone but spike not. Any advice. After 5 years with T I’m crying again.
I have nightmares sometimes and my ears are screaming when I wake. Only this morning I was lying listening to an audio book and had a background noise on. I’d had a terrible dream and was using the book and background noise to help. All of a sudden the noise got louder and more screeching than ever. I’m flummoxed at this. It was very frightening.
I am usually waking within 3 hours of laying down, wondering if its the tinnitus that is waking me or just the stress that it creates. Over several years it has increased in volume, sometimes to the point you would do ANYTHING to make it stop. It is a monster I wish on no man.
Hi Jim, It’s probably a combination of both, though usually this happens because when tinnitus is severe, your nervous system is essentially stuck in an agitated state and that can disrupt sleep quite a bit. I definitely recommend starting to actively work to habituate as soon as possible. It takes time but your sleep will improve. And in the short term, you can try my sleep induction brainwave entrainment audio to help you fall back asleep.