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 virtually non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. Some typical triggers may explain it but it’s still unclear why this happens.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Buzzing
  • Hissing
  • Clicking
  • Ringing
  • Roaring

One of the things that makes tinnitus so disturbing is that you hear it but no one else does. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. One day it might be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

Changes in a person’s hearing are the most common cause. These changes might be due to:

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

A few other potential causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious reason for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor to determine what is happening with your ears. The problem could be something treatable or even a symptom of a life-threatening condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease. It might also be a side effect of a new medication.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

For those who suffer from tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. There are known triggers that may explain it, though.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks. The number one option is to wear hearing protection if you expect to be exposed to a lot of noise. They make earplugs, for instance, that will allow you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the impact it has on your ears.

You can also keep away from the source of the sound. For instance, don’t stand right beside the speakers when attending a live performance or up front at a fireworks display. With this and hearing protection, the damage to your hearing will be decreased.

Loud Noises at Home

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

  • Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to increase the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it could be time to lose those earbuds.
  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises on the job are just as damaging as any other. It’s especially important to use hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Talk to your manager about your ear health; they will probably supply the ear 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. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. If you are traveling, take some gum with you to help neutralize the air pressure and think about hearing protection.

Changes in air pressure occur everywhere not only on a plane. Taking the proper medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.


Speaking of medication, that might also be the problem. Certain drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some prevalent drugs on the list include:

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

If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you start taking a new medication, seek advice from your doctor. Switching to something else may be feasible.

Tinnitus is an irritation 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 figure out what’s causing it.

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