With tinnitus, it’s normal to have good and bad days 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.
None of that clarifies why the ringing is invasive some days and virtually non-existent on others. It is not completely clear why this happens, but some typical triggers may clarify it.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:
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. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.
What Causes Tinnitus?
The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. The cause of these changes could be:
- Ear bone changes
- Noise trauma
- Earwax build up
There are other likely causes, as well, such as:
- Acoustic neuroma
- High blood pressure
- TMJ problems
- Head trauma
- Meniere’s disease
- An issue with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- Tumor in the head or neck
Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.
Consult your doctor to have your ears tested if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue might 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.
Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?
The explanation for why tinnitus gets worse on some days is a bit of a medical mystery. The reason might be different for each person, also. However, there may be some common triggers.
Loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. The best way to go is to use ear protection if you expect a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for instance, without hurting your ears by using earplugs.
Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the loud sound. When you attend a fireworks show don’t sit up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a live performance. With this and ear protection, the damage to your ears will be decreased.
Loud Noises at Home
Loud noises in your house can also be harmful. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Think about other things you do at home that might be a problem:
- Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
- Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
- 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.
If there are things you can’t or aren’t willing to avoid like woodworking, wear hearing protection.
Loud noises at work have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. It’s particularly important to use hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Your employer will most likely provide ear protection if you make them aware of your worries. Spend your off time letting your ears rest, too.
Changes in Air Pressure
Many people have experienced ear popping when they fly. An increase in tinnitus can happen from the noise of the plane engine and the shift in pressure. Consider ear protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to neutralize the air pressure.
You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, as well. If you have sinus issues, for example, consider taking medication to help alleviate them.
Medication may also be the issue. Some drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription, check with your doctor. Switching to something else could be a possibility.
For some people tinnitus is not just annoying it’s debilitating. To be able to determine how to control it from day to day, step one is to find out what’s causing it.