Why Does Tinnitus Get Louder sometimes?

Reviewed on 5/17/2021

Reasons why tinnitus or ringing in the ears may get louder sometimes are still unknown.
Reasons why tinnitus or ringing in the ears may get louder sometimes are still unknown.

Reasons why tinnitus or ringing in the ears may get louder sometimes are still unknown. However, researchers say that the worsening of tinnitus sometimes may be attributed to various triggers such as

Changes in air pressure:

  • Many people have experienced ear-popping when they fly. Noise of the plane engine and the change in cabin pressure can increase tinnitus. People should consider ear protection in such cases.
  • People can experience changes in pressure without leaving their home as well, for instance, sinusitis may sometimes be a cause. They should consider using sinus medication in such scenarios.

Noises:

  • Loud events such as concerts, club music and fireworks are enough to irritate your tinnitus. If you expect to be exposed to loud noise, your best option is to use hearing protection. Earplugs will permit you to enjoy music at a concert but reduce the impact it has on your ears.
  • You can also stay away from the sound source. When you attend a fireworks display, don’t go up front. Stay away from the front row when you’re at a concert. This will reduce the effect and protect hearing.
  • Loud noises around the house can also be a problem. For example, mowing the lawn is enough to induce tinnitus.
  • In few cases, high volume from headphones may aggravate tinnitus.
  • People may also develop tinnitus severity while using laundry machines.
  • Power tools used around the house (carpentry and plumbing) may induce tinnitus.
  • Loud noises on the job have the same effect as a concert or lawnmower. It’s especially crucial to wear ear protection if you work at a construction site or are around machinery.

Stress:

  • One of the leading causes of tinnitus is stress. Tinnitus symptoms might manifest when we are at a particularly stressful point in our lives or having a stressful day.
  • When change occurs in our lives, be it at work or home, stress enables our bodies to react and lets the body respond mentally, physically and emotionally.
  • When we are stressed for long periods, we can become imbalanced or out of equilibrium, causing our tinnitus to seem louder on some days more than others.
  • Stress conditions are related to tinnitus and can make tinnitus worse. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and tinnitus have similar mechanisms that may worsen brain function.

Diet:

  • A healthy diet is still one of the most important aspects of keeping your stress levels low and managing your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Eating processed foods makes it more difficult for us to handle stress because these often contain high levels of sugar.
  • This can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate, activating the sympathetic arm of our nervous system. Moreover, this is the part that deals with our fight or flight response and prepares us for action.
  • When this happens, we release stress hormones that can cause stress symptoms. These might include nervousness, anxiety, irritability and sleep disturbance, which are all triggers of tinnitus symptoms.

Rest and sleep:

  • If you have not slept properly one night, you might experience higher stress levels, and your tinnitus might seem louder than on a normal day.
  • Not only that but sleeping properly also helps us with our ability to handle stress. Giving our bodies the chance to recuperate and rest is essential for managing stress.
  • Lack of sleep affects mood, memory and judgment that may indirectly attribute to worsening tinnitus symptoms.

Medication:

  • Worsening of tinnitus may be a side effect of regular medications.
  • Some drugs are ototoxic, meaning they have an impact on the ears, such as diuretics, over the counter pain relievers and antibiotics.
  • Consult your doctor if you experience intensifying tinnitus after you begin taking a new prescription. It might be possible to switch to something else.

Night ringing:

What are the possible treatment options for tinnitus?

There is no cure for tinnitus. Possible treatment options may include

  • Acoustic or sound therapy makes use of sounds to help the brain refocus and diminish the emotional effect of tinnitus.
  • Hearing aids can be equipped with a tinnitus-masking feature to help individuals block out noise and provide much-needed relief.
  • An electronic device called a masker may be used to distract from ringing sensation. Maskers fit in the ear similarly to hearing aids and produce low-level sounds.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is also known as habituation therapy. This therapy attempts to retrain the brain into perceiving tinnitus differently. The process is a combination of sound therapy and counseling, which alters the brain’s neural signals and weakens the perception of tinnitus.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling that helps change the body’s emotional reaction to tinnitus by altering negative thought patterns and relieving stress.

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References
Understanding Tinnitus -- Diagnosis and Treatment: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-tinnitus-treatment

Differences among Patients That Make Their Tinnitus Worse or Better: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757018/

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