With tinnitus, it’s common to have good and bad days but why? More than 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and that’s accompanied by hearing loss by about 90 percent of them.
But what’s hard to comprehend is why it’s nearly non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. It is not completely clear why this happens, but some ordinary triggers might 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. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. One day it may be a roar and the next day be gone completely.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Alterations in a person’s hearing are the most common cause. These changes may be due to:
- Noise trauma
- Earwax build up
- Ear bone changes
There are other potential causes, also, such as:
- A problem with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- Head injury
- Tumor in the head or neck
- High blood pressure
- Meniere’s disease
- Acoustic neuroma
- TMJ problems
For a small percentage of people, there is no obvious reason for them to have tinnitus.
Consult your doctor to have your ears checked if you suddenly notice the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem may be a symptom of a life threatening condition like heart disease or it could 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.
For those who have tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. And there may be many reasons depending on the person. There are known triggers that may explain it, though.
Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to aggravate your tinnitus. The number one option is to wear hearing protection if you expect a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without injuring your ears by wearing earplugs.
You can also keep away from the source of the sound. When you attend a fireworks show don’t sit up front and avoid the front row at a concert. Combined with hearing protection, this will lessen the impact.
Loud Noises at Home
Stuff at home can be just as harmful as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Here are a few other sounds from around the house that can cause injury:
- Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
- Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
- Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to boost the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it could be time to lose those earbuds.
If you can’t stay away from loud noises at least use hearing protection.
Noises at Work
Loud noises on the job are just as damaging as any other. It’s especially important to wear ear protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Talk to your manager about your hearing health; they will probably supply the hearing protection you need. Spend your off time letting your ears rest, too.
Changes in Air Pressure
When most people fly they experience ear popping. The change in air pressure combined with the noise from the plane engines can cause an increase in tinnitus. Consider hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to neutralize the air pressure.
Changes in air pressure occur everywhere not only on a plane. If you have sinus troubles, for example, think about taking medication to help alleviate them.
Medication could also be the issue. Certain drugs are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Included on this list are these common medications:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
Consult your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you start taking a new medication. Switching to something else might be possible.
For some people tinnitus is not just aggravating it’s debilitating. To be able to determine how to control it from day to day, the first step is to find out what’s causing it.