Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s typical to have good and bad days but why? More than 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and that’s accompanied by hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.

But that doesn’t make clear why the ringing is intrusive some days and nearly non-existent on others. Some common triggers may explain it but it’s still unclear as to why this happens.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Hissing
  • Ringing
  • Clicking
  • Roaring
  • Buzzing

One of the things that makes tinnitus so disturbing is that you hear it but no one else can. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. It might be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

Exactly What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

Alterations in a person’s hearing are the most common cause. These changes could be due to:

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

A few other possible causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no apparent reason for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor to learn what is going on with your ears. The problem might be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could be something treatable. It may also be a side effect of a new medication.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

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

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best choice is to wear ear protection. They make earplugs, for instance, that will permit you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the effect it has on your hearing.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. For instance, don’t stand right beside the speakers at a concert or up front at a fireworks display. Combined with hearing protection, this will lessen the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff at home can be just as harmful as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Think about other things you do at home that might be a problem:

  • Woodworking – The tools you use are enough to cause a problem
  • Wearing headphones – It might be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their job is to increase the volume, and that could be irritating your ears.
  • Laundry – If you fold clothes while the washer is running, for instance.

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work are just as harmful as any other. It’s especially important to wear hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Talk to your boss about your ear health; they might supply the ear protection you need. Spend your personal time letting your ears rest, too.

Air Pressure Changes

When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. The shift in air pressure combined with the noise from the plane engines can trigger an increase in tinnitus. If you are traveling, take some gum with you to help neutralize the air pressure and consider hearing protection.

Changes in air pressure happen everywhere not just on a plane. Taking the proper medication to alleviate sinus pressure is also helpful.


Speaking of medication, that could also be the problem. Some drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

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

Tinnitus is an irritation for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. To be able to determine how to control it from day to day, step one is to find 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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