Why Is the Ringing in My Ears Worse Today?
The Hearing Clinic - Scarborough, ON

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 experience ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also have some degree of hearing loss.

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

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Clicking
  • Ringing
  • Hissing
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring

One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling is that you hear it but no one else does. 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?

The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes might be due to:

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

There are other possible causes, also, such as:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.

See your doctor to have your ears examined if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue might be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could be something treatable. A side effect of a new medication could also be the cause.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

For those who suffer from tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. There are known triggers that could explain it, though.

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to aggravate your tinnitus. The best way to go is to use ear protection if you expect a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without injuring your ears by putting in earplugs.

You can also stay away from the source of the sound. For example, don’t stand right beside the speakers at a concert or up front at a fireworks show. Combined with hearing protection, this will lessen the impact.

Loud Noises at Home

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

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

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

Workplace Noise

Loud noises at work are just as harmful as any other. It’s especially important to use ear protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Your employer will probably supply ear protection if you inform them of your worries. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

Most people have experienced ear popping when they fly. The shift in air pressure and the noise from the plane engines can cause an increase in tinnitus. Consider ear protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to equalize the air pressure.

Changes in air pressure occur everywhere not only on a plane. Taking the correct medication to alleviate sinus pressure is also helpful.

Medication

Speaking of medication, that may also be the problem. Some medications are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Some common medications on the list include:

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

Talk to your doctor if you experience an intensifying of tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication. Switching to something else could be a possibility.

For some people tinnitus is not just aggravating it’s disabling. To be able to determine how to control it from day to day, step one is to figure out what’s causing it.

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