Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s normal to have good and bad days but why? More than 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and that’s accompanied by hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.

But that doesn’t make clear why the ringing is invasive some days and almost non-existent on others. Some normal triggers could explain it but it’s still unclear as to why this occurs.

What Is Tinnitus?

The following phantom noises are heard by people who suffer from tinnitus:

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Ringing
  • Hissing

You hear it, the person beside you can’t, which is part of what makes tinnitus so disturbing. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

Exactly What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

Changes in a person’s hearing are the most prevalent cause. These changes might be due to:

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

A few other potential causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no apparent explanation for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus has just started, see your doctor to learn 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 might also be the cause.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

It’s somewhat of a medical mystery as to why certain days are worse than others for those who have tinnitus. And there could be many reasons depending on the person. However, there might be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. The best option is to wear ear protection if you expect to be exposed to a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a live performance, for instance, without injuring your ears by using earplugs.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. For example, don’t stand right beside the speakers when attending a concert or up front at a fireworks show. Combined with hearing protection, this could diminish the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your house can also be a problem. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Here are some other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
  • Laundry – For instance, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
  • Wearing headphones – The purpose of headphones is to increase the volume of your audio which could be aggravating your tinnitus so it could be time to lose those earbuds.

If there are activities you can’t or aren’t willing to avoid like woodworking, wear hearing protection.

Workplace Noise

Loud noises at work have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s especially crucial to wear ear protection. Talk to your employer about your ear health; they will probably provide the hearing protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Changes in Air Pressure

Most people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. The change in air pressure combined with the noise from the plane engines can lead to an increase in tinnitus. If you are traveling, bring some gum with you to help equalize the air pressure and consider hearing protection.

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

Medication

Speaking of medication, that could also be the issue. Some medications are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Some prevalent medications on the list include:

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

If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication, seek advice from your doctor. It might be feasible to switch to something else.

For some people tinnitus is not just annoying it’s debilitating. To be able to understand how to control it from day to day, step one is to figure out what’s causing it.

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