HEARING TIPS

Why Is the Ringing in My Ears Worse Today?

Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

With tinnitus, it’s typical to have good and bad days but why? More than 45 million Americans endure ringing in their ears due to 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 make clear why the ringing is invasive some days and almost non-existent on others. Some typical 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:

  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Hissing
  • Ringing

One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling is that you hear it but no one else does. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. It might be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes may be due to:

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

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

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

For a certain fraction of people, there isn’t any apparent explanation for them to have tinnitus.

If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor to find out what is going on with your ears. The problem might 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 might also be the cause.

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. The reason may be different for each person, too. However, there could be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Loud events like 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 wear ear protection. They make earplugs, for example, that will permit you to enjoy music at a live performance but reduce the effect it has on your hearing.

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

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your house can also be harmful. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for instance. Consider other things you do at home that may be a problem:

  • Wearing headphones – It might be time to lose the earbuds or headphones. Their job is to increase the volume, and that might be irritating your ears.
  • Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for instance.
  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem

If there are things 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 impact as a concert or the lawnmower. It’s especially crucial to use ear protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Talk to your employer about your hearing health; they might supply 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 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, as well. If you have sinus issues, for instance, think about taking medication to help relieve them.

Medication

Medication may also be the problem. Certain medications are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

Talk to your doctor if you experience an intensifying of tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription. It might be feasible to switch to something else.

For some people tinnitus is not just irritating it’s debilitating. The first step is to find out what’s causing it and then look at ways to keep it under control from day to day.

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