Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s normal 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 about 90 percent of them.

But what’s hard to comprehend is why it’s almost non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so intrusive. It’s not entirely clear why this occurs, but some ordinary triggers might explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Ringing

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. 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. These changes might be due to:

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

Some other potential causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.

Consult your doctor to have your ears tested if you suddenly notice the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue might be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition such as 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?

It’s a bit of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those who have tinnitus. 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. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best choice is to use hearing protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without hurting your ears by putting in earplugs.

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

Loud Noises at Home

Things around the house can be equally as harmful as a loud concert. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Here are various other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:

  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
  • Wearing headphones – It might be time to lose the earbuds or headphones. Their job is to increase the volume, and that might be irritating your ears.
  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.

If there are activities you can’t or don’t want to avoid such as 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. Talk to your manager about your ear health; they might provide the hearing protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

Most people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. If you are traveling, bring some gum with you to help neutralize the air pressure and think about ear protection.

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


Speaking of medication, that might also be the issue. Some medications are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Some prevalent medications on the list include:

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

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

Tinnitus is an annoyance for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. The first step is to find out why you have it and then consider ways to keep it under control from day to day.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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