Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s par for the course for individuals who have tinnitus but why? Tinnitus is the medical name for ringing in the ears, a condition that more than 45 million Americans experience, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by about 90 percent of them.

But what’s difficult to understand is why it’s virtually non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so intrusive. It is not completely clear why this happens, but some ordinary triggers might clarify it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Hissing
  • Roaring
  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Ringing

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

What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

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

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

A few other potential causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no apparent reason for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus has just started, see your doctor and find out what is going on with your ears. The problem could be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could be something treatable. It might also be a side effect of a new medication.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

It’s a bit of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those with tinnitus. The reason could be different for each person, too. However, there might be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks. The best option is to put in ear protection if you expect a lot of noise. They make earplugs, for example, that will permit you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the impact it has on your ears.

You can also stay away from the source of the sound. For example, don’t stand next to the speakers at a live performance or up front at a fireworks display. With this and ear protection, the damage to your ears will be reduced.

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff at home can be just as harmful as a loud concert. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Here are some other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

  • Woodworking – The tools you use are enough to cause a problem
  • Wearing headphones – It could be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their job is to increase the volume, and that could be aggravating your ears.
  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.

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

Workplace Noise

Loud noises on the job have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work around machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to use ear protection. Your employer will most likely supply hearing protection if you inform them of your worries. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

Many people have experienced ear popping when they fly. The change in air pressure plus the noise from the plane engines can trigger an increase in tinnitus. If you are traveling, bring some gum with you to help equalize the air pressure and think about ear protection.

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

Medication

Medication could also be the issue. Some drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some prevalent medications on the list include:

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

Have a talk with your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you start taking a new medication. It may be possible to change to something else.

Tinnitus is an irritation for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. To be able to figure out how to control it from day to day, step one is to find out what’s causing it.

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