You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s par for the course for people with tinnitus but why? Tinnitus is the technical term for ringing in the ears, a condition that more than 45 million Americans experience, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and comes along with hearing loss by around 90 percent of them.
But what is tough to understand is why it’s virtually non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so intrusive. Some typical triggers might explain it but it’s still unclear why this happens.
What Is Tinnitus?
The following phantom noises are heard by people who suffer from tinnitus:
You hear it, the person sitting next to you can’t, which is one thing that makes tinnitus so disturbing. The noise can vary in pitch and volume, too. One day it may be a roar and the next day be gone completely.
What is The Cause of Tinnitus?
The most common cause is a change in a person’s hearing. The cause of these changes could be:
- Ear bone changes
- Earwax build up
- Noise trauma
There are other possible causes, as well, like:
- Acoustic neuroma
- Meniere’s disease
- Head injury
- TMJ issues
- A problem with the carotid artery or jugular vein
- Tumor in the neck or head
- High blood pressure
Sometimes there is no obvious explanation for tinnitus.
Consult your doctor to have your ears tested if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The issue may be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition like high blood pressure or heart disease. It could also be a side effect of a new medication.
For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.
The reason why tinnitus is more severe on some days is somewhat of a medical mystery. And there could be more than one reason depending on the person. There are known triggers that might explain it, though.
Loud events like concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. 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 instance, without harming your ears by putting in earplugs.
Another thing you can do is to put some distance between you and the source of the loud sound. For instance, don’t stand next to the speakers at a live performance or up front at a fireworks show. Combined with hearing protection, this could diminish the impact.
Loud Noises at Home
Stuff around the house can be just as harmful as a loud concert. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Here are some other sounds from around the house that can cause damage:
- Laundry – For instance, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
- Wearing headphones – It could be time to lose the earbuds or headphones. Their job is to increase the volume, and that could be aggravating your ears.
- Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be an issue.
If you can’t stay away from loud noises at least use hearing protection.
Noises at Work
Loud noises at work are just as harmful as any other. If you work around machinery or in construction it’s particularly crucial to wear ear protection. Your employer will most likely provide hearing protection if you let them know your worries. Spend your off time giving your ears a rest.
Changes in Air Pressure
When most people go on a plane they experience ear popping. An increase in tinnitus can happen because of the noise of the plane engine and the change in pressure. If you are traveling, bring some gum with you to help equalize the air pressure and think about ear protection.
Changes in air pressure occur everywhere not only on a plane. If you have sinus issues, for instance, think about taking medication to help relieve them.
Speaking of medication, that might also be the issue. Certain medications impact the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some common drugs 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 medication. It may be feasible to change to something else.
Tinnitus is an aggravation for some people, but for others, it can be disabling. To be able to determine how to control it from day to day, the first step is to find out what’s causing it.