Why Is The Ringing in My Ears Worse Today?

Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s par for the course for people with 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 about 90 percent of them.

But that doesn’t explain why the ringing is invasive some days and almost non-existent on others. It’s not entirely 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:

  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Hissing
  • Ringing
  • Roaring

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. One day it could be a roar and the next day be gone completely.

Exactly What Causes Tinnitus?

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

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

Some other possible causes include:

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

For a small fraction of people, there isn’t any obvious explanation for them to have tinnitus.

If your tinnitus has just started, consult your doctor and learn what is going on with your ears. The problem might 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.

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 many reasons 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 ear protection. They make earplugs, for example, that will allow you to enjoy music at a concert but reduce the effect it has on your hearing.

You can also keep away from the source of the sound. When you attend a fireworks display don’t sit up front and avoid the front row when you’re at a live performance. Combined with hearing protection, this will lessen the effect.

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 instance. Consider other things you do at home that may be a problem:

  • Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to raise the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.
  • Laundry – If you fold clothing while the washer is running, for instance.
  • Woodworking – Power tools are loud enough to be a problem.

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

Noises at Work

Loud noises at work have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. It’s especially important to use hearing protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Talk to your manager about your hearing health; they might provide the hearing protection you need. Spend your personal time letting your ears rest, too.

Air Pressure Changes

When most people fly 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 neutralize the air pressure and consider hearing protection.

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


Medication may also be the problem. Certain drugs affect the ears and are known as ototoxic. Included on this list are these common medications:

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

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

Tinnitus is an aggravation for some people, but for others, it can be debilitating. 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.

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