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Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s commonplace for people who suffer from tinnitus 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 90 percent of them also suffer from some degree of hearing loss.

But that doesn’t explain why the ringing is intrusive some days and virtually non-existent on others. It is not entirely clear why this occurs, but some common triggers may explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Ringing
  • Hissing
  • Roaring
  • Buzzing
  • 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. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

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

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

A few other possible causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no apparent explanation for tinnitus.

Consult your doctor to have your ears tested if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue could be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it might be something treatable. It might also be a side effect of a new medication.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

The explanation for why tinnitus gets worse on some days is a bit of a medical mystery. The reason could be different for each person, also. However, there could be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best option is to use ear protection. They make earplugs, for example, that will allow you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the impact it has on your hearing.

You can also keep away from the source of the 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 damage to your hearing will be reduced.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your home can also be a problem. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Think about other things you do at home that could be a problem:

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

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises on the job are just as harmful as any other. It’s especially important to wear hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Talk to your manager about your ear health; they will probably supply the ear protection you need. Spend your personal time letting your ears rest, too.

Changes in Air Pressure

Most people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. The shift in air pressure plus the noise from the plane engines can trigger an increase in tinnitus. 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. If you have sinus troubles, for example, think about taking medication to help relieve them.


Medication could also be the problem. Certain medications impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some prevalent medications on the list include:

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

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

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