Why Does The Ringing in my Ears Come And go?

Man on plane whose ringing in the ears worsened.

You have good days, and you have bad days, that’s normal for individuals with tinnitus but why? More than 45 million Americans endure 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 what is difficult to understand is why it’s almost non-existent on some days and on others the ringing is so invasive. 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:

  • Hissing
  • Roaring
  • Buzzing
  • Ringing
  • Clicking

You hear it, the person beside you doesn’t, which is one thing that makes tinnitus so disturbing. Also, the pitch and volume can vary. It might be gone one day and the next it’s a roar.

What Causes Tinnitus?

The most common cause is a change in a person’s hearing. These changes may be due to:

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

Some other possible causes include:

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

Sometimes there is no obvious reason for tinnitus.

If your tinnitus is new, see your doctor to find out what is happening with your ears. 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 may also be a side effect of a new medication.

For some reason the ringing gets worse on some days.

It’s a bit of a medical mystery as to why some days are worse than others for those who have tinnitus. And there might be more than one reason depending on the person. However, there may be some common triggers.

Loud Events

Loud events such as concerts, club music, and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. The number one option is to use hearing protection if you expect a lot of noise. You can enjoy the music at a concert, for instance, without harming your ears by putting in earplugs.

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 concert. Combined with hearing protection, this could reduce the effect.

Loud Noises at Home

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

  • Woodworking – The tools you use can cause a hearing problem
  • Wearing headphones – The function of headphones is to increase the volume of your audio which could be irritating your tinnitus so it might be time to lose those earbuds.
  • Laundry – For example, if you fold clothes while the washer is running.

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

Workplace Noise

Loud noises at work have the same effect as a concert or the lawnmower. It’s especially important to use ear protection if you work in construction or are around machinery. Your employer will probably provide ear protection if you let them know your concerns. Let your ears rest during your off time.

Air Pressure Changes

When most people fly they experience ear popping. The shift in air pressure combined with the noise from the plane engines can lead to an increase in tinnitus. Think about 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. Taking the correct medication to relieve sinus pressure is also helpful.


Speaking of medication, that could also be the problem. Certain drugs are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears. Some prevalent medications on the list include:

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

If you’re experiencing a worsening of your tinnitus after you start taking a new prescription, seek advice from your doctor. It may be possible to change to something else.

For some people tinnitus is not just aggravating it’s debilitating. The first step is to figure out why you have it and then consider ways to control it from day to day.

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