You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s normal for individuals who have 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 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. It is not entirely clear why this happens, but some ordinary triggers may clarify it.
What Is Tinnitus?
The following phantom noises are heard by people who suffer from tinnitus:
One of the things that makes tinnitus so disturbing is that you hear it but no one else can. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. One day it may be a roar and the next day be gone completely.
Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?
The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes might be due to:
- Ear bone changes
- Noise trauma
- Earwax build up
There are other likely causes, as well, including:
- Meniere’s disease
- Head injury
- High blood pressure
- TMJ issues
- Tumor in the head or neck
- A problem with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- Acoustic neuroma
Sometimes there is no apparent reason for tinnitus.
If your tinnitus is new, consult your doctor to learn what is happening with your ears. The problem could be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could be something treatable. It could also be a side effect of a new medication.
Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?
It’s a bit of a medical mystery as to why certain days are worse than others for those with tinnitus. And there may be more than one reason depending on the person. However, there might be some common triggers.
Loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best option is to use hearing protection. They make earplugs, for instance, 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. When you attend a fireworks show don’t go up front and stay away from the front row when you’re at a live performance. With this and ear protection, the damage to your hearing will be decreased.
Loud Noises at Home
Stuff at home can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Consider other things you do at home that could be an issue:
- Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a problem.
- Laundry – For instance, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
- Wearing headphones – The purpose of headphones is to increase the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.
If you can’t stay away from loud noises at least wear hearing protection.
Loud noises on the job have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. It’s especially important to wear hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Talk to your boss about your hearing health; they might provide the hearing protection you need. Spend your personal time letting your ears rest, too.
Changes in Air Pressure
Most people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of 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 ear protection.
Changes in air pressure occur everywhere not only on a plane. Taking the proper medication to alleviate sinus pressure is also helpful.
Speaking of medication, that could also be the problem. Certain drugs are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Some common drugs on the list include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
Have a talk with your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription. It might be possible to change to something else.
Tinnitus is an irritation for some people, but for others, it can be disabling. To be able to understand how to control it from day to day, step one is to find out what’s causing it.