Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s normal to have good and bad days but why? Over 45 million Americans endure ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by about 90 percent of them.

None of that clarifies why the ringing is invasive some days and nearly non-existent on others. It’s not completely clear why this occurs, but some common triggers might clarify it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Hissing
  • Roaring
  • Ringing

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

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. The cause of these changes could be:

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

A few other possible causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus has just started, consult your doctor and determine what is going on with your ears. The issue could be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it might be something treatable. A side effect of a new medication might also be the cause.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

It’s a bit of a medical mystery as to why certain days are worse than others for those who have tinnitus. The reason might be different for each person, too. However, there could be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks. The best option is to wear hearing protection if you expect to be exposed to a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for instance, without harming your ears by using earplugs.

You can also keep away from the source of the sound. When you attend a fireworks display don’t sit up front and avoid the front row at a concert. Combined with hearing protection, this could diminish the impact.

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff around the house can be equally as harmful as a loud concert. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Here are a few other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

  • Laundry – If you fold clothes while the washer is running, for example.
  • Wearing headphones – It could be time to lose the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that could be aggravating your ears.
  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises on the job are just as harmful as any other. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s especially important to wear ear protection. Talk to your boss about your ear health; they might provide the ear protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. 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 neutralize the air pressure and think about hearing protection.

You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, too. If you have sinus issues, for example, think about taking medication to help alleviate them.


Medication might also be the problem. Certain drugs are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Some common drugs on the list include:

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

If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you start taking a new medication, consult your doctor. It might be feasible to change to something else.

For some people tinnitus is not just irritating it’s debilitating. To be able to figure out how to control it from day to day, the first step is to find out what’s causing it.

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