With tinnitus, it’s common to have good and bad days but why? Over 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears from a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.
But that doesn’t make clear why the ringing is invasive some days and nearly non-existent on others. Some typical triggers could explain it but it’s still unclear as to why this happens.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:
You hear it, the guy right next to you doesn’t, which is part of what 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.
Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?
The most common cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes may be due to:
- Noise trauma
- Ear bone changes
- Earwax build up
There are other likely causes, also, such as:
- Tumor in the neck or head
- TMJ problems
- High blood pressure
- Head injury
- Acoustic neuroma
- Meniere’s disease
- A problem with the carotid artery or jugular vein
For a certain percentage of people, there is no apparent explanation for them to have tinnitus.
If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor to find out what is going on with your ears. The issue may 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?
For those who have tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. And there could be more than one reason depending on the person. There are common triggers that might explain it, though.
Loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to aggravate your tinnitus. The number one way to go is to use ear protection if you expect a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without hurting your ears by using earplugs.
You can also keep away from the source of the sound. For example, don’t stand next to the speakers when attending a concert or up front at a fireworks display. Combined with hearing protection, this will diminish the effect.
Loud Noises at Home
Loud noises in your house can also be harmful. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Here are some other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:
- Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem
- Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for instance.
- Wearing headphones – It could be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their job is to increase the volume, and that could be aggravating your ears.
If you can’t avoid loud noises at least wear hearing protection.
Loud noises on the job are just as damaging as any other. It’s particularly crucial to use hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Your employer will most likely provide hearing protection if you inform them of your worries. Spend your personal time letting your ears rest, too.
Changes in Air Pressure
When most people fly they experience ear popping. An increase in tinnitus can happen from the noise of the plane engine and the shift in pressure. Consider 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 relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.
Medication could also be the issue. Some medications are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Included on this list are these common medications:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
If you’re experiencing an intensifying of your tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription, talk to your doctor. It may be possible to switch to something else.
For some people tinnitus is not just irritating it’s disabling. The first step is to find out why you have it and then look at ways to control it from day to day.