Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s normal to have good and bad days but why? Tinnitus is the technical term for ringing in the ears, a condition more than 45 million Americans experience, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also have some amount of hearing loss.

But what is tough to comprehend is why it’s nearly non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. Some typical triggers might explain it but it’s still unclear as to why this happens.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Clicking
  • Ringing
  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Buzzing

You hear it, the guy beside 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.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Alterations in a person’s hearing are the most prevalent cause. The cause of these changes could be:

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

There are other likely causes, as well, such as:

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

For a certain fraction of people, there is no obvious explanation for them to have tinnitus.

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

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

For those who have tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. The reason might be different for each person, too. However, there may 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 use hearing protection if you expect to be exposed to a lot of noise. They make earplugs, for example, that will permit you to enjoy music at a concert but reduce the impact it has on your hearing.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the loud sound. When you go to a fireworks display don’t go up front and stay away from the front row at a concert. With this and ear protection, the impact to your hearing will be decreased.

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff at home can be equally as aggravating as a loud concert. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Here are some other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:

  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
  • Wearing headphones – The function 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.
  • Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for example.

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

Workplace Noise

Loud noises at work have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. It’s especially important to wear ear protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Talk to your manager about your ear health; they might supply 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. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. Think about 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, as well. If you have sinus issues, for example, think about taking medication to help alleviate them.

Medication

Medication may also be the issue. Some medications are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Included on this list are these common medications:

  • 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 prescription. Changing to something else could be feasible.

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