With tinnitus, it’s normal to have good and bad days but why? More than 45 million Americans endure ringing in their ears from a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also suffer from some level of hearing loss.
But what’s hard to understand is why it’s almost non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so intrusive. 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:
You hear it, the person beside you can’t, which is one thing that makes tinnitus so disturbing. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.
What is The Cause of Tinnitus?
The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes could be due to:
- Earwax build up
- Ear bone changes
- Noise trauma
There are other possible causes, also, like:
- Tumor in the neck or head
- Acoustic neuroma
- Head trauma
- TMJ issues
- Meniere’s disease
- A problem with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- High blood pressure
For a small fraction of people, there isn’t any obvious explanation for them to have tinnitus.
If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor to find out what is happening with your ears. The issue may be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition like high blood pressure or heart disease. It might 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. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. There are common triggers that may explain it, though.
Loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to aggravate your tinnitus. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best choice is to use ear protection. They make earplugs, for example, that will allow you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the effect it has on your hearing.
You can also stay away from the source of the sound. For instance, don’t stand next to the speakers at a concert or up front at a fireworks show. Combined with hearing protection, this will lessen the impact.
Loud Noises at Home
Loud noises in your house can also be a problem. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for instance. Think about other things you do at home that might be a problem:
- Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to increase the volume of your audio which could be aggravating your tinnitus so it may be time to lose those earbuds.
- Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for example.
- Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a problem.
If you can’t avoid loud noises at least wear hearing protection.
Loud noises on the job are just as harmful as any other. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly crucial to wear hearing protection. Talk to your boss about your hearing health; they might provide the hearing protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.
Air Pressure Changes
When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the change 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. Taking the proper medication to alleviate sinus pressure is also helpful.
Speaking of medication, that could also be the problem. Some medications impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
Have a talk with your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication. Changing to something else may be a possibility.
For some people tinnitus is not just irritating it’s debilitating. The first step is to figure out why you have it and then consider ways to control it from day to day.