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Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s common 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 that’s accompanied by hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.

But that doesn’t make clear why the ringing is intrusive some days and virtually non-existent on others. Some normal triggers might explain it but it’s still unclear why this happens.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:

  • Clicking
  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Hissing
  • Roaring

One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling is that you hear it but no one else does. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. One day it might be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

What Causes Tinnitus?

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

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

There are other likely causes, also, such as:

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

For a certain fraction of people, there isn’t any apparent reason for them to have tinnitus.

See your doctor to have your ears checked if you suddenly notice the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem could be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it might be something treatable. A side effect of a new medication could also be the cause.

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. The reason could be different for each person, also. There are known triggers that may explain it, though.

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. The number one way to go is to put in hearing protection if you expect to be exposed to a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a live performance, for instance, without hurting your ears by using earplugs.

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

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff around the house can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Here are a few other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem
  • Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to raise the volume of your audio which could be aggravating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.
  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.

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

Workplace Noise

Loud noises on the job are just as damaging as any other. It’s particularly important to use ear protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Talk to your manager about your hearing health; they will probably supply the hearing protection you need. Spend your off time giving your ears a rest.

Changes in Air Pressure

When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. If you are traveling, take some gum with you to help equalize the air pressure and think about ear protection.

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


Speaking of medication, that might also be the issue. Some drugs are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription, talk to your doctor. Changing to something else may be possible.

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 find out what’s causing it.

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