Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s commonplace for individuals who have tinnitus but why? Over 45 million Americans endure ringing in their ears due to a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also have some amount of hearing loss.

None of that clarifies why the ringing is invasive some days and almost non-existent on others. It is not completely clear why this happens, but some typical triggers may explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus describes a condition where the patient hears phantom noises such as:

  • Clicking
  • Roaring
  • Buzzing
  • Ringing
  • Hissing

You hear it, the guy beside you can’t, which is part of what makes tinnitus so disturbing. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. It may be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

What Causes Tinnitus?

The most prevalent cause is a change in a person’s hearing. The cause of these changes could be:

  • Aging
  • Earwax build up
  • Ear bone changes
  • Noise trauma

A few other possible causes include:

  • Head injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Atherosclerosis
  • An issue with the carotid artery or jugular vein
  • Tumor in the neck or head
  • TMJ problems
  • Meniere’s disease

Sometimes there is no apparent reason for tinnitus.

See your doctor to have your ears examined if you suddenly observe the symptoms of tinnitus. The problem may be something treatable or even a symptom of a life-threatening condition like high blood pressure or heart disease. A side effect of a new medication might also be the cause.

Why Does the Ringing Get Worse on Some Days?

For those who have 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. However, there may be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best choice is to wear hearing protection. They make earplugs, for example, that will permit you to enjoy music at a concert but reduce the effect it has on your ears.

You can also stay away from the source of the sound. When you go to a fireworks show 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 reduce the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises around your house can also be harmful. Tinnitus can be triggered by a lawn mower for example. Consider other things you do at home that may be a problem:

  • Wearing headphones – It could be time to lose the earbuds or headphones. Their function is to increase the volume, and that could be irritating your ears.
  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem
  • Laundry – For instance, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.

If there are things you can’t or don’t want to avoid such as woodworking, wear hearing protection.

Workplace Noise

Loud noises on the job are just as harmful as any other. It’s particularly crucial to use hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Talk to your boss about your hearing health; they might provide the hearing protection you need. 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 lead to an increase in tinnitus. Consider hearing protection if you are traveling and bring some gum to neutralize the air pressure.

You can experience changes in pressure without leaving your home, too. If you have sinus problems, for instance, think about taking medication to help relieve them.


Speaking of medication, that may also be the issue. Certain medications affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some common drugs on the list include:

  • Diuretics
  • Antibiotics
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers

If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication, check with your doctor. It may be feasible to switch to something else.

Tinnitus is an annoyance for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. To be able to determine how to control it from day to day, step one is to figure out what’s causing it.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC