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Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s common to have good and bad days but why? More than 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears from a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and that’s accompanied by hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.

None of that explains why the ringing is invasive some days and nearly non-existent on others. It is not completely clear why this happens, but some ordinary triggers might clarify it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Ringing
  • Roaring
  • Hissing

One of the things that makes tinnitus so disturbing is that you hear it but no one else does. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

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

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

There are other possible causes, as well, like:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious reason for tinnitus.

See your doctor to have your ears tested if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue may be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition including high blood pressure or heart disease. 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 gets worse on some days is a bit of a medical mystery. The reason may be different for each person, also. However, there may 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 exposed to loud noise, your best option 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 ears.

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 live performance or up front at a fireworks show. Combined with hearing protection, this will lessen the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff at home can be equally as harmful as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for instance. Here are various other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem
  • Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to boost the volume of your audio which could be aggravating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.
  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.

If there are activities you can’t or don’t want 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 near machinery or in construction it’s especially important to use ear protection. Talk to your employer about your hearing health; they will probably supply the hearing protection you need. Spend your personal time giving your ears a rest.

Changes in Air Pressure

When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. The shift in air pressure plus the noise from the plane engines can trigger an increase in tinnitus. Consider 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. If you have sinus issues, for instance, consider taking medication to help alleviate them.


Speaking of medication, that may also be the problem. Some drugs are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

Talk to your doctor if you experience an intensifying of tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription. Switching to something else may be possible.

Tinnitus is an aggravation for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. The first step is to figure out why you have it and then consider ways to control it from day to day.

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.