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Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s typical to have good and bad days but why? Tinnitus is the technical term for ringing in the ears, a condition that more than 45 million Americans endure, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by about 90 percent of them.

None of that clarifies why the ringing is intrusive some days and virtually non-existent on others. Some typical triggers could explain it but it’s still unclear why this occurs.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Hissing
  • Buzzing
  • Ringing

You hear it, the guy right next to you doesn’t, which is one thing that makes tinnitus so disturbing. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. It might be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

The most common cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes could be due to:

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

Some other potential causes include:

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

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

Consult your doctor to have your ears tested if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue 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.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

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

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best choice is to wear ear protection. 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.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. For instance, don’t stand right beside the speakers at a live performance or up front at a fireworks show. With this and hearing protection, the damage to your hearing will be reduced.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your house can also be harmful. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for instance. Consider other things you do at home that may be a problem:

  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
  • 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 irritating your ears.
  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem

If you can’t avoid loud noises at least use hearing protection.

Workplace Noise

Loud noises on the job have the same impact as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work around machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to wear hearing protection. Your employer will probably supply ear protection if you let them know your worries. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

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

You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, too. Taking the correct medication to alleviate sinus pressure is also helpful.


Speaking of medication, that may also be the problem. Certain medications are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Some common drugs on the list include:

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

Talk to your doctor if you experience an intensifying of tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription. Switching to something else could be feasible.

Tinnitus is an annoyance for some people, but for others, it can be disabling. The first step is to find out what’s causing it and then consider ways to keep it under control from day to day.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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