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Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s common 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 90 percent of them also suffer from some level of hearing loss.

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

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Ringing
  • Hissing
  • Roaring

One of the things that makes tinnitus so disturbing is that you hear it but no one else can. 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 prevalent cause. The cause of these changes could be:

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

There are other potential causes, also, like:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus has just started, see your doctor to find out what is going on with your ears. The issue might be something treatable or even a symptom of a life-threatening condition like high blood pressure or heart disease. It could also be a side effect of a new medication.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

For those who suffer from tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. And there might 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 such as concerts, club music, and fireworks. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best choice is to use hearing protection. They make earplugs, for instance, that will allow you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the effect it has on your hearing.

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

Loud Noises at Home

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

  • Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to boost the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.
  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
  • Laundry – If you fold clothes 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.

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s especially important to use ear protection. Talk to your employer about your ear health; they might provide the ear protection you need. Spend your personal time giving your ears a rest.

Air Pressure Changes

Most people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the shift in pressure. Think about hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to equalize the air pressure.

You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, as well. Taking the correct medication to alleviate sinus pressure is also helpful.


Medication might also be the problem. Certain drugs are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Some common medications on the list include:

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

If you’re experiencing an intensifying of your tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription, seek advice from your doctor. It might be possible to switch to something else.

Tinnitus is an annoyance for some people, but for others, it can be disabling. To be able to figure out how to control it from day to day, step one is to figure 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.