Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s typical 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 experience, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and that’s accompanied by hearing loss by about 90 percent of them.

None of that clarifies why the ringing is invasive some days and virtually non-existent on others. It is not entirely clear why this occurs, but some ordinary triggers may explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Ringing

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 might be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

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

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

There are other likely causes, also, like:

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

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

If your tinnitus is new, consult your doctor to learn what is happening with your ears. The problem could be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it might be something treatable. A side effect of a new medication might also be the cause.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

It’s a bit of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those with tinnitus. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. There are common triggers that may explain it, though.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks. The number one way to go is to use ear protection if you expect to be exposed to a lot of noise. They make earplugs, for instance, that will permit you to enjoy music at a concert but reduce the impact it has on your ears.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. When you attend a fireworks display don’t sit up front and stay away from the front row when you’re at a live performance. Combined with hearing protection, this will lessen the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises around your home can also be a problem. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Consider other things you do at home that may be an issue:

  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a problem.
  • Laundry – If you fold clothes while the washer is running, for instance.
  • Wearing headphones – The purpose of headphones is to increase the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.

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

Workplace Noise

Loud noises at work are just as damaging as any other. If you work around machinery or in construction it’s especially crucial to use ear protection. Your employer will probably supply ear protection if you make them aware of your worries. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Changes in Air Pressure

Many 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 neutralize the air pressure.

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


Medication may also be the issue. Certain medications impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

Talk to your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication. Switching to something else might be possible.

Tinnitus is an aggravation for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. To be able to determine 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.
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