Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s common to have good and bad days but why? Over 45 million Americans endure ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also have some level of hearing loss.

But what is tough to understand is why it’s virtually non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. 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:

  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Ringing
  • Clicking
  • Hissing

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 might be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

What Causes Tinnitus?

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

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

There are other likely causes, as well, such as:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.

Consult your doctor to have your ears checked if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue 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 may also be the cause.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

The reason why tinnitus is more severe on some days is a bit of a medical mystery. And there could be more than one reason depending on the person. There are common triggers that may explain it, though.

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to aggravate your tinnitus. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best option is to use ear protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without hurting your ears by wearing earplugs.

You can also keep away from the source of the sound. For instance, don’t stand right beside the speakers when attending a concert or up front at a fireworks show. Combined with hearing protection, this will reduce the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your house can also be harmful. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Here are a few other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

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

If you can’t avoid loud noises at least use hearing protection.

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work are just as harmful as any other. It’s especially crucial to use hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Your employer will most likely provide hearing protection if you inform them of your concerns. Spend your personal time letting your ears rest, too.

Changes in Air Pressure

When most people fly they experience ear popping. The shift in air pressure and the noise from the plane engines can trigger an increase in tinnitus. Think about hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to equalize the air pressure.

Changes in air pressure happen everywhere not only on a plane. Taking the correct medication to alleviate sinus pressure is also helpful.


Medication might also be the problem. Some drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

If you’re experiencing an intensifying of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription, check with your doctor. It may be possible to change to something else.

Tinnitus is an aggravation for some people, but for others, it can be disabling. To be able to determine how to control it from day to day, step one is to find out what’s causing it.

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