Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s commonplace for people who suffer from tinnitus but why? Tinnitus is the technical term for ringing in the ears, a condition that more than 45 million Americans experience, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.

But that doesn’t explain why the ringing is invasive some days and almost non-existent on others. It is not entirely clear why this occurs, but some typical triggers may explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Buzzing
  • Ringing
  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Clicking

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

What is The Cause of Tinnitus?

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

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

Some other possible causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus is new, consult your doctor and find out what is going on with your ears. The issue could be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it might be something treatable. A side effect of a new medication might 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. And there could be more than one reason depending on the person. There are common triggers that might explain it, though.

Loud Events

Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to aggravate your tinnitus. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best choice is to use ear protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without hurting your ears by wearing earplugs.

Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. When you go to a fireworks display don’t go up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a live performance. Combined with hearing protection, this could diminish the impact.

Loud Noises at Home

Stuff around the house can be just as harmful as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Here are various other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:

  • Laundry – For instance, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
  • Wearing headphones – It might be time to lose the earbuds or headphones. Their job is to increase the volume, and that could be aggravating your ears.
  • Woodworking – The tools you use are enough to cause a problem

If you can’t stay away from loud noises at least put in hearing protection.

Workplace Noise

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 especially crucial to use hearing protection. Your employer will probably provide hearing protection if you make them aware of your worries. Spend your personal time letting your ears rest, too.

Changes in Air Pressure

When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. 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 happen everywhere not just on a plane. Taking the right medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.


Medication might also be the problem. Some medications impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

If you’re experiencing an intensifying of your tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription, seek advice from your doctor. Changing to something else could be a possibility.

For some people tinnitus is not just annoying it’s disabling. To be able to figure out how to control it from day to day, the first step is to find out what’s causing it.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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