You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s par for the course for those who have 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 amount of hearing loss.
But that doesn’t explain why the ringing is intrusive some days and almost non-existent on others. Some normal triggers may explain it but it’s still not clear why this occurs.
What Is Tinnitus?
The following phantom noises are heard by people who suffer from tinnitus:
You hear it, the person right next to you can’t, which is one thing that makes tinnitus so disturbing. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.
Exactly What is The Cause of Tinnitus?
The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. The cause of these changes could be:
- Earwax build up
- Ear bone changes
- Noise trauma
There are other possible causes, as well, such as:
- Acoustic neuroma
- High blood pressure
- Tumor in the neck or head
- Head injury
- TMJ problems
- Meniere’s disease
- An issue with the carotid artery or jugular vein
Sometimes there is no apparent explanation for tinnitus.
See your doctor to have your ears examined if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem may be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition including 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?
It’s somewhat of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those with tinnitus. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. However, there may be some common triggers.
Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best option is to use ear protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for instance, without harming your ears by putting in earplugs.
You can also stay away from the source of the sound. When you attend a fireworks display don’t go up front and avoid the front row at a live performance. With this and ear protection, the damage to your hearing will be decreased.
Loud Noises at Home
Loud noises around your home can also be a problem. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for instance. Think about other things you do at home that might be a problem:
- Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
- Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
- Wearing headphones – The purpose of headphones is to boost the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it could be time to lose those earbuds.
If you can’t avoid loud noises at least put in hearing protection.
Loud noises at work have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to wear ear protection. Your employer will most likely provide hearing protection if you make them aware of your worries. Let your ears rest during your off time.
Changes in Air Pressure
Many people have experienced ear popping when they fly. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. If you are traveling, take some gum with you to help equalize the air pressure and consider hearing protection.
You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, too. Taking the proper medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.
Speaking of medication, that could also be the problem. Some medications impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some prevalent medications on the list include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription, talk to your doctor. Changing to something else may be a possibility.
Tinnitus is an irritation for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. The first step is to figure out what’s causing it and then consider ways to control it from day to day.