Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

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

But what is hard to understand is why it’s nearly non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. It is not entirely clear why this happens, but some common triggers may explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Ringing
  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Hissing

You hear it, the person sitting next to you can’t, which is one thing that makes tinnitus so disturbing. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. One day it may be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

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

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

A few other potential causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no apparent explanation for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus has just started, consult your doctor to 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 could also be a side effect of a new medication.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

The explanation for why tinnitus is more severe on some days is somewhat of a medical mystery. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. However, there might be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best choice is to wear ear protection. They make earplugs, for example, that will allow you to enjoy music at a concert but reduce the impact it has on your hearing.

You can also stay away from the source of the sound. For instance, don’t stand right beside the speakers when attending a concert or up front at a fireworks show. Combined with hearing protection, this could reduce the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Things around the house can be equally as harmful as a loud concert. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Consider other things you do at home that may be a problem:

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

If there are things 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 particularly crucial to use ear protection. Your employer will most likely provide hearing protection if you inform them of your worries. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Changes in Air Pressure

Many 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. If you are traveling, take some gum with you to help neutralize the air pressure and consider ear protection.

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

Medication

Speaking of medication, that might also be the problem. Some drugs impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some prevalent drugs on the list include:

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

Consult your doctor if you experience an intensifying of tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication. It might be possible to change to something else.

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