Coastal Hearing Aid Center - Encinitas, CA

Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s normal for people who suffer from tinnitus but why? Tinnitus is the technical term for ringing in the ears, a condition that 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 intrusive some days and almost non-existent on others. It is not entirely clear why this occurs, but some ordinary triggers may explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

The following phantom noises are heard by people who suffer from tinnitus:

  • Clicking
  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Ringing
  • Buzzing

You hear it, the guy right next to you doesn’t, which is part of what makes tinnitus so disturbing. 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 is The Cause of Tinnitus?

The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes might be due to:

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

Some other possible causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious reason for tinnitus.

See your doctor to have your ears checked if you suddenly notice the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue might be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition like high blood pressure or heart disease. A side effect of a new medication may also be the cause.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

The explanation for why tinnitus is more severe on some days is somewhat of a medical mystery. The reason may be different for each person, also. However, there could be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to aggravate your tinnitus. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best choice is to use ear protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for instance, without injuring your ears by putting in earplugs.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. For example, don’t stand next to the speakers at a concert or up front at a fireworks show. With this and ear protection, the damage to your ears will be decreased.

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff around the house can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for instance. Here are a few other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:

  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
  • Laundry – For instance, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
  • Wearing headphones – It might be time to lose the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that might be irritating your ears.

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work around machinery or in construction it’s especially important to use ear protection. Your employer will most likely supply ear protection if you let them know your worries. Spend your off time letting your ears rest, too.

Changes in Air Pressure

Most people have experienced ear popping when they fly. The change in air pressure and the noise from the plane engines can cause an increase in tinnitus. Think about ear 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. If you have sinus troubles, for instance, consider taking medication to help relieve them.


Speaking of medication, that could also be the issue. Some drugs are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Some prevalent medications on the list include:

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

Talk to your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription. It may be possible to switch to something else.

For some people tinnitus is not just annoying it’s debilitating. To be able to understand 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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