You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s normal for those who suffer from tinnitus but why? More than 45 million Americans endure ringing in their ears from a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also suffer from some level of hearing loss.
But that doesn’t make clear why the ringing is invasive some days and almost non-existent on others. Some normal triggers may explain it but it’s still unclear as to why this occurs.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:
One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling 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.
What Causes Tinnitus?
The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes may be due to:
- Noise trauma
- Earwax build up
- Ear bone changes
There are other likely causes, as well, including:
- Tumor in the neck or head
- Head trauma
- Meniere’s disease
- An issue with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- TMJ problems
- Acoustic neuroma
- High blood pressure
For a certain fraction of people, there is no apparent explanation for them to have tinnitus.
See your doctor to have your ears checked if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem might be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it might 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.
The explanation for why tinnitus gets worse on some days is somewhat of a medical mystery. And there could be many reasons depending on the person. There are common triggers that could explain it, though.
Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to aggravate your tinnitus. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best choice is to wear hearing 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. When you go to a fireworks show don’t go up front and avoid the front row at a concert. With this and hearing protection, the impact to your ears will be reduced.
Loud Noises at Home
Loud noises around your home can also be harmful. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Consider other things you do at home that might be an issue:
- Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for example.
- Wearing headphones – It might be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that could be aggravating your ears.
- Woodworking – The tools you use are enough to cause a problem
If you can’t avoid loud noises at least wear hearing protection.
Noises at Work
Loud noises at work are just as harmful as any other. If you work around machinery or in construction it’s especially important to use hearing protection. Your employer will probably supply ear protection if you let them know your concerns. Let your ears rest during your off time.
Changes in Air Pressure
When most people fly they experience ear popping. An increase in tinnitus can happen from the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. If you are traveling, bring some gum with you to help neutralize the air pressure and consider ear protection.
Changes in air pressure occur everywhere not just on a plane. If you have sinus problems, for instance, consider taking medication to help alleviate them.
Medication could also be the problem. Some drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some prevalent medications on the list include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
Talk to your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription. Switching to something else may be a possibility.
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 figure out what’s causing it.