Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s typical to have good and bad days but why? Tinnitus is the medical name for ringing in the ears, a condition more than 45 million Americans endure, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and that’s accompanied by hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.

But what is hard to understand is why it’s almost non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. Some common triggers may explain it but it’s still not clear as to why this occurs.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Hissing
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Ringing
  • Clicking

One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling is that you hear it but no one else can. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. One day it could 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. These changes might be due to:

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

Some other possible causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no apparent reason for tinnitus.

Consult your doctor to have your ears tested 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 like high blood pressure or heart disease. A side effect of a new medication might also be the cause.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

For those who have tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. And there could be many reasons depending on the person. There are common triggers that could explain it, though.

Loud Events

Loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best choice is to wear ear protection. They make earplugs, for example, that will permit you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the impact it has on your ears.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. For instance, don’t stand right beside the speakers at a concert or up front at a fireworks display. With this and ear protection, the damage to your ears will be decreased.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your home can also be harmful. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Here are some other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:

  • Woodworking – The tools you use are enough to cause a problem
  • Wearing headphones – It could be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that could be aggravating your ears.
  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.

If there are things you can’t or don’t want to avoid like woodworking, wear hearing protection.

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work are just as damaging as any other. It’s especially crucial to use hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Your employer will most likely supply ear protection if you inform them of your concerns. Spend your off time letting your ears rest, too.

Air Pressure Changes

Most people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. The change in air pressure plus the noise from the plane engines can lead to an increase in tinnitus. Consider ear protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to neutralize the air pressure.

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

Medication

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

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

Consult your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription. It may be possible to switch to something else.

For some people tinnitus is not just irritating it’s 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.