You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s commonplace for those who suffer from tinnitus but why? More than 45 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears from a condition called tinnitus, 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 intrusive some days and virtually non-existent on others. Some common triggers may explain it but it’s still unclear why this happens.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:
You hear it, the guy right next to you can’t, which is one thing that makes tinnitus so disturbing. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.
Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?
The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes could be due to:
- Ear bone changes
- Noise trauma
- Earwax build up
Some other possible causes include:
- Meniere’s disease
- TMJ issues
- Acoustic neuroma
- Head trauma
- Tumor in the head or neck
- A problem with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- High blood pressure
For a small fraction of people, there is no apparent explanation for them to have tinnitus.
See your doctor to have your ears checked if you suddenly notice the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue might 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.
For those who suffer from tinnitus it’s a medical mystery why it gets worse on some days. And there could be more than one reason depending on the person. 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 subjected to loud noise, your best option is to use hearing protection. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without harming your ears by putting in earplugs.
You can also keep away from the source of the sound. When you go to a fireworks display don’t sit up front and stay away from the front row when you’re at a live performance. Combined with hearing protection, this could lessen the impact.
Loud Noises at Home
Things at home can be just as aggravating as a loud concert. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Consider other things you do at home that could be an issue:
- Wearing headphones – It could be time to get rid of the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that might be aggravating your ears.
- Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem
- Laundry – If you fold clothes while the washer is running, for example.
If you can’t stay away from loud noises at least wear hearing protection.
Loud noises at work have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. It’s particularly important to wear ear protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Your employer will probably supply ear protection if you let them know your worries. Spend your off time letting your ears rest, too.
Changes in Air Pressure
Many people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. The change in air pressure plus the noise from the plane engines can result in an increase in tinnitus. Consider ear 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. Taking the correct medication to alleviate sinus pressure is also helpful.
Medication could also be the issue. Some drugs are ototoxic, meaning they affect the ears. Some common medications on the list include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription, seek advice from your doctor. Changing to something else might be possible.
For some people tinnitus is not just irritating it’s disabling. The first step is to figure out why you have it and then consider ways to control it from day to day.