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Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s typical to have good and bad days but why? More than 45 million Americans endure ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with 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. It’s not entirely clear why this happens, but some typical triggers might explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Buzzing
  • Hissing
  • Ringing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking

You hear it, the person sitting next to you can’t, which is part of what makes tinnitus so disturbing. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. One day it might be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

Exactly What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

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

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

There are other likely causes, also, like:

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

For a small percentage of people, there is no obvious explanation for them to have tinnitus.

Consult your doctor to have your ears checked if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem may be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could be something treatable. A side effect of a new medication could 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. The reason could be different for each person, too. There are common triggers that could explain it, though.

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best option is to wear ear protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for instance, without harming your ears by putting in earplugs.

You can also stay away from the source of the sound. For example, 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

Things around the house can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Think about other things you do at home that could be a problem:

  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a problem.
  • Wearing headphones – The purpose of headphones is to boost the volume of your audio which could be aggravating your tinnitus so it could be time to lose those earbuds.
  • Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for instance.

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

Workplace Noise

Loud noises at work have the same impact as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to use ear protection. Talk to your manager about your hearing health; they might provide the hearing protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Changes in Air Pressure

When most people fly they experience ear popping. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the shift 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. Taking the right medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.

Medication

Medication may also be the problem. Some drugs are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

If you’re experiencing an intensifying of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription, consult your doctor. Changing to something else may be possible.

Tinnitus is an irritation 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 control it from day to day.