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Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s commonplace for people who have tinnitus but why? Over 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also have some amount of hearing loss.

But that doesn’t explain why the ringing is intrusive some days and almost non-existent on others. It is not entirely clear why this happens, but some common triggers might clarify it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Hissing
  • Clicking
  • Roaring
  • Ringing
  • Buzzing

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.

Exactly What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

Changes in a person’s hearing are the most common cause. The cause of these changes could be:

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

There are other possible causes, as well, such as:

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

For a small percentage of people, there is no obvious explanation for them to have tinnitus.

See your doctor to have your ears tested if you suddenly notice the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem may be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease. A side effect of a new medication could also be the cause.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

It’s somewhat of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those with tinnitus. The reason may be different for each person, too. There are common triggers that could explain it, though.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best option is to use hearing protection. They make earplugs, for example, that will allow you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the effect it has on your ears.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. For example, don’t stand next to the speakers at a concert or up front at a fireworks display. With this and ear protection, the damage to your hearing will be decreased.

Loud Noises at Home

Things around the house can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus. Here are various other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:

  • Wearing headphones – It might be time to lose the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that might be irritating your ears.
  • Laundry – If you fold clothes while the washer is running, for instance.
  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises on the job have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work around machinery or in construction it’s particularly important to use hearing protection. Talk to your manager about your hearing health; they will probably provide the hearing protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

Most people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. An increase in tinnitus can happen from the noise of the plane engine and the shift 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, as well. Taking the correct medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.

Medication

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

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

If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription, check with your doctor. It might be possible to switch to something else.

Tinnitus is an irritation for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. The first step is to find out why you have it and then look at ways to control it from day to day.

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