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Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s par for the course for those who have tinnitus but why? Over 45 million Americans experience ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also suffer from some level of hearing loss.

None of that explains why the ringing is invasive some days and almost non-existent on others. Some typical triggers might explain it but it’s still not clear as to why this happens.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Clicking
  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Hissing

You hear it, the person sitting next to you doesn’t, which is part of what makes tinnitus so disturbing. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. It might be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

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

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

Some other possible causes include:

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

For a small fraction of people, there is no obvious explanation for them to have tinnitus.

If your tinnitus has just started, see your doctor and learn what is going on with your ears. The issue may be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could be something treatable. It could also be a side effect of a new medication.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

For those who have tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. The reason might be different for each person, also. 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 use hearing protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without harming 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 go to a fireworks display don’t go up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a live performance. 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 induce tinnitus. Consider other things you do at home that might be a problem:

  • 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.
  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem
  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work are just as harmful as any other. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to wear hearing protection. Your employer will probably provide ear protection if you make them aware of your concerns. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Changes in Air Pressure

When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. The shift in air pressure combined with the noise from the plane engines can trigger an increase in tinnitus. Consider 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. Taking the right medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.


Speaking of medication, that could also be the problem. Certain drugs are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Some prevalent drugs on the list include:

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

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

For some people tinnitus is not just aggravating it’s disabling. 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.