You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s normal for individuals who suffer from tinnitus but why? Over 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears from a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also have some level of hearing loss.
None of that explains why the ringing is invasive some days and nearly non-existent on others. Some normal triggers may explain it but it’s still unclear why this occurs.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:
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 may 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 prevalent cause. The cause of these changes could be:
- Ear bone changes
- Noise trauma
- Earwax build up
There are other possible causes, as well, such as:
- Meniere’s disease
- A problem with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- Acoustic neuroma
- Tumor in the neck or head
- Head trauma
- High blood pressure
- TMJ problems
Sometimes there is no obvious reason for tinnitus.
If your tinnitus is new, consult your doctor and 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. A side effect of a new medication may also be the cause.
For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.
The explanation for why tinnitus is more severe on some days is a bit of a medical mystery. The reason may be different for each person, also. However, there may be some common triggers.
Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks. If you expect to be subjected to loud noise, your best option is to wear ear protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without hurting your ears by wearing earplugs.
You can also keep away from the source of the sound. When you attend a fireworks show don’t go up front and avoid the front row at a concert. With this and ear protection, the impact to your hearing will be decreased.
Loud Noises at Home
Things around the house can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Think about other things you do at home that might be an issue:
- Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a problem.
- Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
- Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to raise the volume of your audio which could be aggravating your tinnitus so it could be time to lose those earbuds.
If there are things you can’t or aren’t willing to avoid like woodworking, wear hearing protection.
Loud noises at work 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 ear health; they will probably provide the ear protection you need. Spend your off time giving your ears a rest.
Air Pressure Changes
When most people fly they experience ear popping. The change in air pressure plus the noise from the plane engines can lead to an increase in tinnitus. If you are traveling, bring some gum with you to help equalize the air pressure and think about hearing protection.
Changes in air pressure occur everywhere not only on a plane. If you have sinus problems, for example, think about taking medication to help alleviate them.
Speaking of medication, that may also be the problem. Certain medications affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
If you’re experiencing an intensifying of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication, check with your doctor. Switching to something else could be possible.
For some people tinnitus is not just annoying it’s disabling. The first step is to figure out what’s causing it and then look at ways to keep it under control from day to day.