Cedar Audiology Associates - Cleveland, OH

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 people who suffer from tinnitus but why? Tinnitus is the technical term for ringing in the ears, a condition that more than 45 million Americans experience, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also have some amount of hearing loss.

None of that clarifies why the ringing is invasive some days and virtually non-existent on others. It is not entirely clear why this occurs, but some common triggers may clarify it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Hissing
  • Roaring

You hear it, the guy beside you can’t, which is part of what makes tinnitus so disturbing. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. One day it might be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

Exactly What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

Changes in a person’s hearing are the most common cause. The cause of these changes could be:

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

A few other potential causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious reason for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor and determine what is happening with your ears. The issue could be something treatable or even a symptom of a life-threatening condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease. It could also be a side effect of a new medication.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

The reason why tinnitus is more severe on some days is somewhat of a medical mystery. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. 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 choice is to use hearing protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for instance, without injuring your ears by putting in earplugs.

You can also keep away from the source of the sound. When you go to a fireworks show don’t sit up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a concert. Combined with hearing protection, this will reduce the impact.

Loud Noises at Home

Things around the house can be just as harmful as a loud concert. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Consider other things you do at home that could be a problem:

  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a problem.
  • Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for example.
  • Wearing headphones – The purpose of headphones is to raise the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.

If there are activities you can’t or don’t want to avoid like woodworking, wear hearing protection.

Noises at Work

Loud noises on the job are just as damaging as any other. It’s particularly important to use hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Talk to your boss about your ear health; they might supply the hearing protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

Many people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. An increase in tinnitus can happen from the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. If you are traveling, bring some gum with you to help neutralize the air pressure and consider ear protection.

You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, too. If you have sinus troubles, for instance, consider taking medication to help relieve them.

Medication

Medication may also be the issue. Some drugs are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

Have a talk with your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication. Switching to something else might be possible.

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

Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today