Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s typical to have good and bad days but why? More than 45 million Americans experience ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by about 90 percent of them.

But what is difficult to understand is why it’s almost non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. Some normal triggers might explain it but it’s still not clear why this happens.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Ringing
  • Hissing

You hear it, the person beside you doesn’t, which is part of what makes tinnitus so disturbing. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. One day it might be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

Exactly What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

Alterations in a person’s hearing are the most common cause. These changes may be due to:

  • Aging
  • Earwax build up
  • Ear bone changes
  • Noise trauma

There are other potential causes, as well, including:

  • Meniere’s disease
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • An issue with the carotid artery or jugular vein
  • TMJ problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Head injury
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Tumor in the neck or head

For a small percentage of people, there isn’t any apparent explanation for them to have tinnitus.

If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor to find out what is going on with your ears. The issue could be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could be something treatable. A side effect of a new medication may also be the cause.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

For those who have tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. The reason could be different for each person, too. However, there could be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks. The number one way to go is to wear ear protection if you expect a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without injuring your ears by wearing earplugs.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. When you go to a fireworks show don’t go up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a concert. Combined with hearing protection, this will reduce the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff around the house can be equally as aggravating as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Consider other things you do at home that might be a problem:

  • Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for example.
  • Wearing headphones – The purpose of headphones is to raise the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.
  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a problem.

If there are activities you can’t or don’t want to avoid such as woodworking, wear hearing protection.

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work are just as damaging as any other. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s especially important to wear hearing protection. Your employer will probably provide hearing protection if you make them aware of your concerns. Spend your off time letting your ears rest, too.

Changes in Air Pressure

Most people have experienced ear popping when they fly. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the shift in pressure. Think about hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to neutralize the air pressure.

Changes in air pressure happen everywhere not just on a plane. Taking the right medication to alleviate sinus pressure is also helpful.

Medication

Medication may also be the issue. Some medications impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some common drugs on the list include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Diuretics
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers

If you’re experiencing an intensifying of your tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription, seek advice from your doctor. Changing to something else might be feasible.

For some people tinnitus is not just aggravating it’s disabling. The first step is to find out why you have it and then consider ways to control it from day to day.

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