Why Does My Tinnitus Get Worse Sometimes?
This article is not meant to give medical advice or treatment suggestions. The purpose of this article is to answer questions about Tinnitus fluctuations that some people experience.
I had Tinnitus since 2005, so I can discuss this topic based on my own experience. I receive questions such as these from readers of my tinnitus survey.1
The following is a compilation of those Q&A.
Can Tinnitus Fluctuate?
Why does my tinnitus get worse sometimes?
The level, or volume, of Tinnitus can fluctuate based on any number of factors. Stress, food allergies, and blood pressure could have an effect on you. I’ll elaborate on several instances.
I noticed that my tinnitus gets worse at night when I try to sleep. That might very well be because I’m paying more attention to it. During the day, I’ve learned to allow my activities to overpower my thought process and I simply don’t pay attention to it. But it’s still there; it just doesn’t bother me as much when I’m actively doing other things.
I’ve learned to ignore it when I’m falling asleep. I used to try using noise machines, but they never worked—at least not for me. Some people swear by them, so it’s worth trying. They help distract your attention from the tinnitus.
It’s helpful to discover what activities you are doing that may help or hinder the level of your tinnitus. Keep a log of what you’re doing each day and how you feel. Keep a record of the foods you are eating. Some foods might be causing it to get worse. I found too much coffee makes it worse, but everyone is different. You need to find out for yourself, and keeping a log helps with doing that.
Also, include your stress level in your log. I discovered stress is the strongest cause of my loudness. This might be true for you too.
After you have created a log of your activities, foods you eat everyday, and your stress level, you should have a better impression of what changes you need to make in your life to avoid a high volume of your tinnitus.
Is It Pressure Related?
I have hissing in my ears. Sometimes soft and sometimes loud! Then it will stop all of a sudden and I get peace once again!
It seems to happen when it's raining. So I'm wondering, does barometric pressure have anything to do with it?
The American Tinnitus Association2 says that abnormal pressure in the middle ear can affect normal hearing and cause tinnitus symptoms. Barometric changes can cause pressure changes in the middle ear, so tinnitus symptoms can’t be ruled out.
Other Internet research shows reports from tinnitus sufferers claiming that they experience ringing in the ears with barometric pressure changes, such as when a storm was coming.
There is no single cause of tinnitus, but if you feel your symptoms are related to barometric pressure changes, you could try using an antihistamine nasal spray to see if that helps. However, keep in mind that many medications have been known to aggravate the symptoms of tinnitus.
As in all cases, you should seek the advice of your medical doctor before considering this suggestion.
Does Position Change Tinnitus?
Mine seems to pulsate in my head and I found that when I lie down it gets worse. What can be causing this?
There are many types of Tinnitus and each one reacts differently. People with pulsating tinnitus say it gets worse when they lie down. This can be a drag when trying to fall asleep.
If you notice your tinnitus is more like a pulsating kind, it may be caused either by blood vessels making pulsating sounds or by muscle movements. Lying down is known to make this type worse.
You should get this checked out by a cardiologist if that’s what you have, since you could have plaque buildup in your blood vessels.3
Does Thinking About It Worsen Tinnitus?
My Tinnitus seems to go away when I’m busy with something and not paying attention to it. But as soon as I think about it, there it is! Am I making it happen by thinking?
Good question. In the past decade I’ve gotten used to having tinnitus, mainly because I believe my brain has “learned” to ignore it. Therefore it doesn’t bother me like it used to in the beginning. However, I am aware that as soon as I pay attention to it, it gets louder. It’s as if I’m bringing it back into focus. That might be what is happening with you too.
Triggered by Noise
My Tinnitus gets worse when I hear a loud noise. Is this triggering it?
Exposure to loud noises is what most likely brought on the Tinnitus to begin with, although this is not determined to be the only cause. It’s possible that it can be health related with some individuals, such as earwax blockage, ear bone changes, and age-related hearing loss.4
In any case, based on my own experience, once you have Tinnitus any loud noise can make it increase in volume. For this reason I avoid going to music concerts now, ever since I realized this phenomena.
Is Something Else Making It Come and Go?
I am so very much aware that my Tinnitus gets better at times and worse at times. I just can’t put my finger on it though. Is it possible that it’s triggered by something else?
I actually gave a lot of thought to this ever since I found my Tinnitus fluctuating from time to time. I envisioned connections with stress, annoyance, and even anger.
Try giving some attention to these situations as they might occur in your life. Watch to see if you notice a pattern. If you do, then maybe you can try to avoid situations that bring on these emotions that influence your Tinnitus. That’s how I learned to live with it.
I elaborate further on this question in another article: Tinnitus Sufferers Experience with Ringing in the Ears.5
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Glenn Stok