With tinnitus, it’s typical to have good and bad days but why? Over 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also suffer from some degree of hearing loss.
But what is tough to understand is why it’s nearly non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so intrusive. Some normal triggers may explain it but it’s still unclear why this happens.
What Is Tinnitus?
The following phantom noises are heard by people who suffer from tinnitus:
One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling is that you hear it but no one else does. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. One day it may be a roar and the next day be gone completely.
Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?
Alterations in a person’s hearing are the most common cause. The cause of these changes could be:
- Earwax build up
- Ear bone changes
- Noise trauma
There are other potential causes, also, including:
- Tumor in the head or neck
- High blood pressure
- Head trauma
- An issue with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- Acoustic neuroma
- TMJ problems
- Meniere’s disease
Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.
If your tinnitus is new, consult your doctor and learn what is happening with your ears. The problem could be something treatable or even a symptom of a life-threatening condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease. It may also be a side effect of a new medication.
Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?
It’s somewhat of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those with tinnitus. The reason could be different for each person, also. There are common triggers that might explain it, though.
Loud events like 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. You can enjoy the music at a live performance, for instance, without injuring your ears by putting in earplugs.
Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the loud sound. For instance, don’t stand next to the speakers at a concert or up front at a fireworks display. Combined with hearing protection, this will reduce the effect.
Loud Noises at Home
Things around the house can be equally as harmful as a loud concert. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Think about other things you do at home that could be a problem:
- Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem
- Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to raise 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 you can’t avoid loud noises at least put in hearing protection.
Noises at Work
Loud noises on the job have the same impact as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to wear ear protection. Your employer will probably supply hearing protection if you inform them of your worries. Let your ears rest during your off time.
Air Pressure Changes
Many people have experienced ear popping when they fly. The shift in air pressure plus the noise from the plane engines can cause an increase in tinnitus. If you are traveling, bring some gum with you to help equalize the air pressure and consider ear protection.
Changes in air pressure happen everywhere not just on a plane. If you have sinus problems, for example, think about taking medication to help relieve them.
Speaking of medication, that may also be the issue. Some drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
Talk to your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you start taking a new medication. It might be feasible to change to something else.
For some people tinnitus is not just irritating it’s disabling. The first step is to find out what’s causing it and then look at ways to control it from day to day.