Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s normal for those with tinnitus but why? More than 45 million Americans experience ringing in their ears from a condition called tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and 90 percent of them also have some level of hearing loss.

None of that explains why the ringing is invasive some days and virtually non-existent on others. It’s not entirely clear why this happens, but some typical triggers might explain it.

What Is Tinnitus?

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

  • Ringing
  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Hissing
  • Roaring

One of the things that makes tinnitus so troubling is that you hear it but no one else does. 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:

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

Some other possible causes include:

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

For a small fraction of people, there is no apparent explanation for them to have tinnitus.

If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor to find out what is happening with your ears. The issue could be something treatable or it might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition including 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 somewhat of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those who have tinnitus. And there could be more than one reason depending on the person. There are common triggers that could explain it, though.

Loud Events

Your tinnitus can be aggravated by loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks. The best way to go is to put in ear protection if you expect a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for example, without harming your ears by wearing earplugs.

You can also stay away from the source of the sound. For example, don’t stand right beside the speakers at a concert or up front at a fireworks display. With this and hearing protection, the impact to your hearing will be reduced.

Loud Noises at Home

Loud noises in your house can also be a problem. For instance, mowing the lawn is enough to trigger tinnitus. Consider other things you do at home that may be an issue:

  • 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.
  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.
  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem

If you can’t avoid loud noises at least put in hearing protection.

Workplace Noise

Loud noises at work are just as damaging as any other. It’s especially crucial to wear ear protection if you work in construction or are around machines. Talk to your employer about your ear health; they will probably provide the hearing protection you need. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

Many people have experienced ear popping when they take a plane. 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 neutralize the air pressure and think about ear protection.

Changes in air pressure happen everywhere not only on a plane. If you have sinus issues, for instance, think about taking medication to help relieve them.


Medication might also be the problem. Certain drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Some prevalent drugs on the list include:

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

If you’re experiencing an intensifying of your tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription, consult your doctor. It may be possible to change to something else.

For some people tinnitus is not just irritating it’s disabling. To be able to understand how to control it from day to day, the first step is to find 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.