Hearing Health Blog

Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s common to have good and bad days 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 make clear why the ringing is invasive some days and almost non-existent on others. Some common triggers may explain it but it’s still not clear why this happens.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Ringing
  • Hissing
  • Clicking

One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling is that you hear it but no one else does. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. One day it could be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

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

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

There are other potential causes, as well, such as:

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

For a certain fraction of people, there isn’t any apparent reason for them to have tinnitus.

Consult your doctor to have your ears examined if you suddenly notice the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue may be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could 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 is more severe on some days is a bit of a medical mystery. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. However, there may 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 subjected to loud noise, your best option is to wear hearing protection. They make earplugs, for instance, that will permit you to enjoy music at a concert but reduce the effect it has on your ears.

You can also keep away from the source of the sound. When you go to a fireworks show don’t sit up front and stay away from the front row at a live performance. With this and hearing protection, the impact to your hearing will be reduced.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises around your house can also be a problem. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Here are various other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:

  • Laundry – If you fold clothes while the washer is running, for example.
  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
  • Wearing headphones – It could be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that might be irritating your ears.

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises on the job are just as harmful as any other. It’s particularly crucial to use ear protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Your employer will probably provide ear protection if you make them aware of your worries. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

When most people fly they experience ear popping. An increase in tinnitus can happen from the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. Think about ear protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to equalize the air pressure.

You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, too. If you have sinus problems, for example, consider taking medication to help alleviate them.


Medication may also be the issue. Some medications are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Some prevalent drugs on the list include:

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

Have a talk with your doctor if you experience an intensifying of tinnitus after you start taking a new medication. Changing to something else may be a possibility.

For some people tinnitus is not just irritating it’s disabling. To be able to determine how to control it from day to day, step one is to find out what’s causing it.

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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