You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s par for the course for individuals with tinnitus but why? Over 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 have some degree of hearing loss.
But that doesn’t explain why the ringing is intrusive some days and almost non-existent on others. Some common triggers might explain it but it’s still not clear why this occurs.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:
You hear it, the guy beside you can’t, which is one thing that makes tinnitus so disturbing. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. One day it could be a roar and the next day be gone completely.
What Causes Tinnitus?
The most common cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes could be due to:
- Noise trauma
- Earwax build up
- Ear bone changes
There are other possible causes, also, like:
- Head injury
- High blood pressure
- TMJ problems
- Meniere’s disease
- An issue with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- Tumor in the head or neck
- Acoustic neuroma
For a small percentage of people, there isn’t any obvious explanation for them to have tinnitus.
If your tinnitus has just started, consult your doctor and determine what is going on 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?
For those who have tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. And there could be more than one reason depending on the person. There are common triggers that may explain it, though.
Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks. The number one option is to put in ear protection if you expect to be exposed to a lot of noise. They make earplugs, for instance, that will permit you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the effect it has on your ears.
You can also stay away from the source of the sound. For instance, don’t stand right beside the speakers when attending a live performance or up front at a fireworks display. Combined with hearing protection, this will reduce the effect.
Loud Noises at Home
Loud noises in your home can also be harmful. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Here are a few other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:
- Woodworking – The tools you use are enough to cause a problem
- Laundry – For instance, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
- Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to raise the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.
If there are activities you can’t or aren’t willing to avoid like woodworking, wear hearing protection.
Loud noises at work are just as damaging as any other. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to use ear protection. Your employer will probably provide hearing protection if you let them know your worries. Spend your off time letting your ears rest, too.
Changes in Air Pressure
Most people have experienced ear popping when they fly. The shift in air pressure combined with the noise from the plane engines can cause an increase in tinnitus. Think about hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to neutralize the air pressure.
You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, as well. Taking the right medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.
Medication might also be the problem. Certain medications impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication, check with your doctor. Changing to something else could be a possibility.
Tinnitus is an irritation for some people, but for others, it can be disabling. The first step is to find out what’s causing it and then look at ways to control it from day to day.