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Why is tinnitus louder some days?

Many people experience ringing in their ears due to a temporary increase in the number of sound cells, which is common during pregnancy and menopause. Sometimes, however, this noise can be persistent and disturbing. Although some patients find relief with medical treatment or devices such as hearing aids or hearing injections, others may need additional help such as therapy."

One of the most common problems that people with tinnitus face is an issue understanding why their tinnitus is louder some days than others. Many people report that if they are exposed to very loud noise, the tinnitus "begins" or "increases" at that point. This can be a frustrating experience for those who have had tinnitus for a long time and have been trying to manage their condition.

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Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tinnitus and the brain

Tinnitus is the brain's perception of sound that does not exist. No one really knows what it is or how it happens. It is thought to be the result of abnormal connections in the auditory neural pathways, but to quote Wikipedia, "Why these connections are formed remains a matter of speculation." Theoretically, however, there are some theories for why tinnitus can vary in loudness.

The most common reason for tinnitus to vary in loudness is due to changes in the intensity of loud sound sources. The ear may become fatigued when exposed to intense noise, if it's not used to that level of intense noise. This may cause the brain to compensate by making the hearing worse when the ears are unable to do anything about it.

Tinnitus and loudness

There are other possibilities that are less likely, but still worth considering. It is possible that there is a type of abnormal neural connection that causes tinnitus to vary in loudness. There was one study that looked into brain wave variations and tinnitus possibility. This paper titled "Temporal Patterns of Tinnitus with Special Reference to the Reticular Formation" does question whether tinnitus may be due to variations in the connections within the brain.

As I mentioned, it is also possible that exposure to loud noise will cause tinnitus variability.

Reasons why tinnitus gets louder

There are many potential causes for tinnitus loudness variability. The more common reasons that I have seen are:

  1. Stress. If you are stressed, your body's stress response system releases chemicals that can cause tinnitus to get louder. Stress can increase the variability in your tinnitus. You should try to eliminate stress from your life as much as possible.

  2. Exercise. When some people exercise, tinnitus can get louder. This is more common in people with very loud tinnitus.

  3. Certain medications. A few types of medications, especially aspirin and NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen), can make tinnitus worse or louder. Make sure you talk to your doctor if you are on any medications that could be causing changes in your tinnitus loudness.

  4. Temporary hearing damage due to loud noises. If you have been exposed to loud noise, sometimes the ear will be temporarily damaged.

  5. TMJ hearing loss. When someone has TMJ, it can cause headaches and other symptoms that affect the facial nerve that connects the ear to the jaw. Possible treatments include hearing aids, jaw surgery and other interventions. This is a very nervous system issue and should be addressed by a dentist or an ENT specialist, not a GP.

  6.  Sleep. If you are not sleeping well, your body will not be able to produce serotonin. This can cause problems with some serotonin receptors in the brain that regulate the regulation of emotions, sleep and pain. Your brain chemicals will be out of balance. I discussed some solutions for dealing with tiredness last week.

  7. Medications treat tinnitus loudness variability too well. Sometimes the medications that are used for tinnitus will increase the loudness of your tinnitus. This can be a very frustrating situation where people get louder tinnitus while using their medications. Also, if you are using any type of medication for sleep, be sure to tell your doctor about the treatments you are using or you may be able to stop taking them without any adverse effects.

  8. Diet. If you consume refined and added sugar and processed foods, they can deplete serotonin and deplete other neurotransmitters in the brain. Without these chemicals, you will not be able to sleep well. A healthy diet with low levels of sugar is necessary for a restful night's sleep.

  9. Hormone fluctuations. If you are under a certain level of stress, your body will produce cortisol and other stress hormones. When you are stressed, some of these chemicals can kick-in sooner than usual and increase serotonin levels in the brain. This can cause tinnitus to get louder suddenly. It is becoming more popular to use people's saliva samples or blood for measuring cortisol levels.

  10. Changes in blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar drops too low or rises too high, tinnitus can get louder. Be sure you are testing your blood sugar regularly and taking care of it. I use this free app for Android that is great for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia called MySugr Diabetes Manager that will alert you when your blood sugar is too high or too low.

Concentrating on another activity

There is one more factor that can cause tinnitus loudness variability. When you are concentrating on something else, your brain is not paying attention to the tinnitus. When you are distracted by an activity, you can forget about the tinnitus. This will allow it to get louder when the mind is distracted by the other task or activity.

I don't know if there are any practical ways to utilize this effect of concentration for people with constant tinnitus (ringing in ears).

What triggers tinnitus attacks?

Your tinnitus will be triggered by many things that your brain interprets as "things that are happening in the outside world." For example, you might experience an earthquake, a car backfire, fireworks, yelling around you or noises around you. These things trigger the perception of the sound inside your head.

Your brain will associate these triggers with an impending attack of tinnitus. The brain will go on high alert to prepare for the attack and increase loudness on all possible frequencies simultaneously.

Is tinnitus related to anxiety?

Yes, tinnitus is related to anxiety. Sometimes tinnitus gets louder when you are anxious. Likewise, anxiety can make tinnitus worse. Many people with tinnitus also suffer from anxiety (and depression). Anxiety can make tinnitus worse by causing the brain to be more sensitive to tinnitus.

If you have tinnitus, you may have anxiety too.

Is tinnitus related to depression?

Yes, people with depression are more likely to experience tinnitus. Some of them are extremely prone to higher rates of tinnitus, especially if the person is not taking any type of antidepressant medication.

If you are depressed or have anxiety, please seek out an integrative therapist that specializes in helping people with mental health problems like dysthymia (a depressive mood disorder) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Please do not go see a GP for this issue, they cannot diagnose these disorders correctly.

What makes tinnitus better or worse?

If you have a condition that makes your brain more sensitive to tinnitus, then that will make the condition worse. The mood and mental health of a person also play a role in how loud the tinnitus becomes.

The general attitude about the condition plays a role too. Many people have negative attitudes about this condition. When people with tinnitus hear other people say they are "lucky" because they don't have tinnitus, it makes them feel even more frustrated and upset with their condition.

Can ear drops help tinnitus?

Yes. Ear drops made for tinnitus can help with some types of tinnitus. These include:

Sensorineural hearing loss with chronic otitis media. The pain in your ear can aggravate or trigger a chronic form of tinnitus. These drops work by calming the nerves that fire when you have a painful earache. They work by reducing inflammation in the ear and calming the nerves that make them fire.

The pain in your ear can aggravate or trigger a chronic form of tinnitus. These drops work by calming the nerves that fire when you have a painful earache. They work by reducing inflammation in the ear and calming the nerves that make them fire. Tinnitus related to hyperacusis, hearing loss or otosclerosis (a bone disorder).

Conclusion

This article was intended to be a detailed look at tinnitus loudness variability. I hope that it gave you some ideas about how you can reduce the loudness of your tinnitus. Unfortunately, there is no one solution that can fix all cases.

If you experience loudness variability or other issues with tinnitus, the best thing to do is improve your quality of life. Determine what can make your tinnitus worse. Then see how these factors are affecting the tinnitus loudness you are experiencing.

Learn how to reduce these factors if possible or find something else that makes your tinnitus better. Be proactive rather than reactive in treating the issue with tinnitus.

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Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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