You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s par for the course for those who have tinnitus 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 comes along with hearing loss by about 90 percent of them.
But what’s difficult to understand is why it’s almost non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so intrusive. It is not completely clear why this happens, but some common triggers may 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 troubling is that you hear it but no one else does. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. One day it could be a roar and the next day be gone completely.
Exactly What is The Cause of Tinnitus?
Alterations in a person’s hearing are the most common cause. These changes may be due to:
- Noise trauma
- Ear bone changes
- Earwax build up
There are other likely causes, also, including:
- Head trauma
- High blood pressure
- TMJ issues
- Meniere’s disease
- A problem with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- Tumor in the neck or head
- Acoustic neuroma
Sometimes there is no apparent explanation for tinnitus.
If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor and determine what is going on with your ears. The issue 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 might also be the cause.
For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.
It’s a bit of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those with tinnitus. The reason could be different for each person, also. There are known triggers that could explain it, though.
Loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to aggravate your tinnitus. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best option is to use hearing protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for instance, without injuring your ears by putting in earplugs.
Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the noise. For instance, don’t stand right beside the speakers at a live performance or up front at a fireworks show. With this and hearing protection, the impact to your hearing will be decreased.
Loud Noises at Home
Things at home can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Here are some other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:
- Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to increase the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it could be time to lose those earbuds.
- Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a problem.
- Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for instance.
If you can’t stay away from loud noises at least wear hearing protection.
Loud noises on the job have the same impact as a concert or the lawnmower. If you work near machinery or in construction it’s particularly crucial to use hearing protection. Your employer will most likely supply ear protection if you make them aware of your worries. Let your ears rest during your off time.
Changes in Air Pressure
When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. The shift in air pressure combined with the noise from the plane engines can result in an increase in tinnitus. Think about 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, as well. Taking the proper medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.
Speaking of medication, that might also be the issue. Certain drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some common medications on the list include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
Consult your doctor if you experience a worsening of tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription. It might be possible to change to something else.
For some people tinnitus is not just aggravating 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.