Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s typical to have good and bad days 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 90 percent of them also have some degree of hearing loss.

But what’s tough to comprehend is why it’s virtually non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. It’s not entirely clear why this happens, but some ordinary triggers may clarify it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Clicking
  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Ringing
  • Buzzing

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

What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

The most common cause is a change in a person’s hearing. The cause of these changes could be:

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

Some other potential causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.

See your doctor to have your ears examined if you suddenly notice the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem might be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease. 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, also. However, there might be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best choice is to use ear protection. They make earplugs, for instance, 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. For example, don’t stand right beside the speakers at a concert or up front at a fireworks display. With this and ear protection, the impact to your ears will be reduced.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises around your home can also be a problem. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for instance. Think about other things you do at home that may be an issue:

  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a 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 – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for instance.

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work have the same impact as a concert or the lawnmower. It’s especially important to wear hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Your employer will most likely supply hearing 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 fly. The shift in air pressure plus the noise from the plane engines can result in an increase in tinnitus. Consider hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to equalize the air pressure.

Changes in air pressure occur everywhere not only on a plane. If you have sinus problems, for instance, consider taking medication to help alleviate them.


Medication may also be the issue. Certain drugs impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some prevalent drugs on the list include:

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

Have a talk with your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication. It might be feasible to switch to something else.

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

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