Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s normal for people who have tinnitus but why? Tinnitus is the technical term for ringing in the ears, a condition more than 45 million Americans endure, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.

But that doesn’t explain why the ringing is invasive some days and virtually non-existent on others. Some typical triggers may explain it but it’s still not clear as to why this occurs.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Hissing
  • Buzzing
  • Ringing
  • Clicking
  • Roaring

One of the things that makes tinnitus so disturbing is that you hear it but no one else does. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. It might be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

Changes in a person’s hearing are the most prevalent cause. The cause of these changes could be:

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

There are other potential causes, as well, like:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.

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

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

The reason why tinnitus is more severe on some days is somewhat of a medical mystery. And there might be many reasons depending on the person. There are common triggers that might explain it, though.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best option is to use ear protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without injuring your ears by using 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 when attending a live performance or up front at a fireworks display. Combined with hearing protection, this will lessen the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your home can also be harmful. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Here are various other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

  • Wearing headphones – It might be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that might be aggravating your ears.
  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem
  • Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for instance.

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

Workplace Noise

Loud noises on the job have the same impact as a concert or the lawnmower. It’s especially crucial to wear hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Talk to your manager about your hearing health; they might supply the ear protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Changes in Air Pressure

When most people fly they experience ear popping. The change in air pressure combined with the noise from the plane engines can trigger an increase in tinnitus. Consider hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to equalize the air pressure.

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


Medication might also be the problem. Certain drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some common medications on the list include:

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

Have a talk with your doctor if you experience an intensifying of tinnitus after you start taking a new medication. Switching to something else could be feasible.

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

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