Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s commonplace for individuals who have tinnitus but why? Tinnitus is the medical name for ringing in the ears, a condition that more than 45 million Americans endure, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.

But that doesn’t explain why the ringing is invasive some days and nearly non-existent on others. It’s not completely clear why this happens, but some common triggers may explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:

  • Buzzing
  • Hissing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Ringing

You hear it, the guy right next to you doesn’t, which is one thing that makes tinnitus so disturbing. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

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

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

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

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

For a small 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 happening 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?

The explanation for why tinnitus gets worse on some days is somewhat of a medical mystery. The reason may be different for each person, too. There are known triggers that might explain it, though.

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. The best way to go is to wear 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.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the loud sound. When you go to a fireworks display don’t go up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a live performance. Combined with hearing protection, this will reduce the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your house can also be harmful. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for instance. Here are some other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:

  • Woodworking – The tools you use are enough to cause a problem
  • Wearing headphones – The purpose 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 – For instance, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.

If there are things you can’t or don’t want to avoid such as woodworking, wear hearing protection.

Workplace Noise

Loud noises at work have the same impact as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to use ear protection. Your employer will probably provide ear protection if you make them aware of your concerns. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Changes in Air Pressure

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

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


Medication may also be the issue. Certain medications are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Some common drugs on the list include:

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

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

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

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.
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