You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s commonplace for those with tinnitus but why? Tinnitus is the medical name for ringing in the ears, a condition that more than 45 million Americans endure, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and that’s accompanied by hearing loss by about 90 percent of them.
But that doesn’t make clear why the ringing is invasive some days and virtually non-existent on others. It’s not completely clear why this occurs, but some ordinary triggers may explain it.
What Is Tinnitus?
The following phantom noises are heard by people who suffer from tinnitus:
One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling is that you hear it but no one else can. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. One day it might be a roar and the next day be gone completely.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Changes in a person’s hearing are the most common cause. The cause of these changes could be:
- Earwax build up
- Ear bone changes
- Noise trauma
Some other potential causes include:
- An issue with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- High blood pressure
- Tumor in the neck or head
- Acoustic neuroma
- Head trauma
- Meniere’s disease
- TMJ problems
For a certain fraction of people, there isn’t any apparent explanation for them to have tinnitus.
Consult your doctor to have your ears tested if you suddenly notice the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem could be something treatable or even a symptom of a life-threatening condition like high blood pressure or heart disease. It may also be a side effect of a new medication.
For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.
It’s a bit of a medical mystery as to why certain days are worse than others for those who have tinnitus. And there could be many reasons depending on the person. There are common triggers that may explain it, though.
Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks. The number one way to go is to wear ear protection if you expect a lot of noise. 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 show don’t sit up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a concert. Combined with hearing protection, this could lessen the impact.
Loud Noises at Home
Stuff around the house can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for instance. Think about other things you do at home that might be a problem:
- Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
- Woodworking – The tools you use are enough to cause a problem
- Wearing headphones – It might be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that could be aggravating your ears.
If there are activities you can’t or aren’t willing to avoid such as woodworking, wear hearing protection.
Noises at Work
Loud noises at work are just as harmful as any other. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly crucial to use hearing protection. Talk to your boss about your ear health; they will probably supply the hearing protection you need. Spend your off time giving your ears a rest.
Changes in Air Pressure
Most people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. An increase in tinnitus can happen from the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. Consider hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to equalize the air pressure.
You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, too. If you have sinus troubles, for example, consider taking medication to help relieve them.
Speaking of medication, that may also be the issue. Certain medications impact 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 prescription, consult your doctor. It might be possible to change to something else.
Tinnitus is an annoyance for some people, but for others, it can be disabling. The first step is to find out why you have it and then look at ways to control it from day to day.