Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

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

But what is difficult to understand is why it’s nearly non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so intrusive. Some typical triggers may explain it but it’s still unclear as to why this occurs.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Roaring
  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Hissing

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

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

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

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

A few other possible causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious reason for tinnitus.

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

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

It’s somewhat of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those with tinnitus. The reason may be different for each person, too. There are known triggers that might explain it, though.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best choice is to use ear protection. You can enjoy the music at a live performance, for instance, without hurting your ears by wearing earplugs.

You can also keep away from the source of the sound. When you attend a fireworks display don’t go up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a live performance. With this and hearing protection, the impact to your hearing will be decreased.

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff at home can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Think about other things you do at home that could be an issue:

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

If you can’t stay away from loud noises at least put in hearing protection.

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work are just as damaging as any other. It’s particularly crucial to wear hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Talk to your manager about your ear health; they will probably provide the hearing protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Changes in Air Pressure

When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. 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.

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

Medication

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

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

Talk to your doctor if you experience an intensifying of tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription. It might be possible to switch to something else.

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

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