Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s commonplace for individuals who suffer from tinnitus but why? More than 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears due to 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 tough to comprehend is why it’s almost non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. Some typical triggers might explain it but it’s still not clear why this occurs.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Ringing
  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Buzzing
  • Clicking

You hear it, the guy right next to you can’t, which is part of what makes tinnitus so disturbing. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

Exactly 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:

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

A few other potential causes include:

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

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

Consult your doctor to have your ears examined if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem may be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition like high blood pressure or heart disease. A side effect of a new medication may also be the cause.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

The explanation for why tinnitus gets worse on some days is somewhat of a medical mystery. And there may be many reasons depending on the person. However, there could be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. The number one way to go is to wear hearing protection if you expect a lot of noise. They make earplugs, for example, that will allow you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the effect it has on your ears.

You can also stay away from the source of the sound. When you attend a fireworks show don’t go up front and avoid the front row at a live performance. Combined with hearing protection, this will reduce the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your home can also be harmful. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Here are various other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

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

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work are just as harmful as any other. It’s especially important to use ear protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Your employer will probably supply hearing protection if you inform them of your worries. Spend your personal time letting your ears rest, too.

Changes in Air Pressure

When most people fly they experience ear popping. The change in air pressure plus the noise from the plane engines can trigger an increase in tinnitus. Think about ear protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to equalize the air pressure.

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


Medication may also be the issue. Some medications 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 an intensifying of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription, consult your doctor. Switching to something else might be a possibility.

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

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