Why Does My Tinnitus Seem Worse Today?

Person holding their ear in pain.

People who experience tinnitus (the persistent ringing sound in one or both ears) have days when the problem seems worse. Tinnitus is either a symptom of a medical issue or caused by environmental factors, so several different things can make it more severe.

In our daily lives, there are countless variables in play, and a number of them are likely to make the persistent sounds worse. The good news is that knowing the causes and aggravating factors of tinnitus can help people avoid those awful days.

Medical Issues That Lead To or Worsen Tinnitus

Several factors related to overall health can affect tinnitus. However, people should be sure to check with their doctor before making any changes or undergoing procedures to alleviate the problems.

  • Medications – Drugs such as antidepressants, antibiotics and high doses of aspirin can aggravate the effects of tinnitus.
  • Jaw Issues – People who suffer from jaw problems should consult a doctor to see if relieving those problems can help with their tinnitus. Because the jaw and ears share nerves and ligaments, this can be an effective relief measure.
  • Earwax – While earwax does help protect the ears, too much buildup can make tinnitus worse. Doctors may be able to help alleviate wax buildup and give patients prevention tips.
  • Infections – Ear and sinus infections from something as simple as the common cold can worsen the symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Allergic Reactions – People with tinnitus who also have allergies should talk to their doctors about starting new or changing their existing medications.
  • High or Low Blood Pressure – Have your doctor monitor your blood pressure or check it yourself often. Blood pressure issues can lead to worsening tinnitus.
  • Migraine Headaches – The pain from migraines can lead to higher stress, which in and of itself can make tinnitus worse. Migraines can also lead to a lack of sleep that then exacerbates the ringing.
  • Other Medical Problems – Problems with the inner ears or thyroid and other medical conditions can cause tinnitus, or they can lead to bad day of persistent ringing. Keeping these issues under control can help alleviate the problem.

Other Factors That Aggravate Tinnitus

  • Caffeine – Caffeine use in and of itself may lead to tinnitus, and it may also have secondary effects by raising your blood pressure or causing a lack of sleep.
  • Smoking – Smoking can make your blood pressure go up or narrow the blood vessels to the ears, both of which can make tinnitus more severe.
  • Alcohol – Like smoking and using caffeine, alcohol can raise your blood pressure and produce worsening ringing in your ears.
  • Exposure to Loud Noises – People who have tinnitus should do everything possible to avoid loud noises from things like concerts and machinery, and should avoid using headphones at a high volume.

People experiencing tinnitus should talk to their doctors about alleviating their symptoms by dealing with their medical issues, and they should avoid things that make the problem worse. The more factors that people can eliminate that increase the ringing or make it last longer, the less likely they are to suffer from those terrible days.


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