Protect your ears How do I prevent it? Tinnitus can’t always be prevented and there are many causes and reasons why people experience the condition. Here are a few examples of ways you can help protect yourself from tinnitus in certain situations: Infections Tinnitus can be caused by ear infections. If you use earplugs or hearing aids, make sure you keep them clean. Don’t put things in your, not even cottonbuds. These can cause infections. Your ears clean themselves naturally, and if you are worried about a build-up of wax, talk to a GP, nurse or pharmacist. Hardened wax can be softened by using olive oil drops available from a pharmacy, once softened the wax may release itself. If not, you will be able to have it removed by a hearing healthcare provider. Stress and anxiety Tinnitus can sometimes start when you are anxious or stressed, so try and keep a healthy life balance. Do things you enjoy and de-stress everyday by taking some time out for yourself. Stay fit, eat well and enjoy life. Use earplugs If you are going to be exposed to loud sounds over 85dB (see How loud is loud). You can get sound meters to measure sound if you want to get an idea of sounds, and there are several apps available which can also be helpful. Don't stand by the speakers If you are going to a club or festival avoid standing or sitting by the speakers as the closer you are to the source of the sound, the louder it will be. Safe levels of personal listening If you listen to music through headphones, make sure you set the level to safe. That means not ramping up the volume to block out other external sounds. You ears adjust to the levels you listen to, so if you listen to it loud, you will want to keep listening to it loud. If you turn it down, it might seem too quiet at first, but your ears will gradually adjust to is. If you aren't sure how loud to listen, get a friend to stand by you when you have your headphones on. If they can hear what you can hear, then it's too loud. Take a break Your ears can cope better with loud sounds if you give them regular breaks - so if you are in a noisy enviroment, take some time out and let your ears have a rest. Find out more about our tinnitus prevention campaign Plug’em, at www.plugem.co.uk.