According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, tinnitus is estimated to affect approximately 10 percent of the general population. Although tinnitus is often referred to as “a ringing in the ears,” the sounds associated can also be hissing, chirping, crickets, whooshing, or roaring sounds. Tinnitus can affect one or both ears. It affects both males and females of all ages.

According to the Mayo Clinic tinnitus is actually a symptom of a range of deeper issues like hearing loss, ear injury, or a circulatory system disorder.

Tinnitus is obviously a serious nuisance that can negatively affect your wellbeing and peace of mind. 

But there is a hidden side of tinnitus: it can be affected by the weather and other atmospheric conditions.

According to HealthLinkBC, rapid changes in environmental pressure may contribute to tinnitus. It might get worse when it rains, for example. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that it is lower sea level pressure that is associated with tinnitus. Changes in atmospheric pressure often happen when you fly or when spring comes.

Tinnitus is also associated with Ménière's Diseasesays the NIH. A disorder of the inner ear, Ménière's can lead to hearing loss, dizziness or vertigo, and aural fullness (pressure). Atmospheric pressure below 1013.25 millibars causes a 23 percent spike in the likelihood of tinnitus due to Ménière's Disease.

A compromised vestibular system, the part of your inner ear that controls balance, may explain the correlation between atmospheric pressure and tinnitus. The fluid in your inner ear can make you sensitive to changes in air pressure. When it drops suddenly, a reaction in your ear can cause your tinnitus to flare up.

In a study published by the NIH in February 2017, warmer temperatures were correlated with lower levels of tinnitus, and interestingly also with improved hearing. The increased wind is associated with more serious cases of tinnitus (if you disregard all other weather factors). Humidity may also be associated with tinnitus.

Lower barometric pressure, warmer temperatures, high wind, and humidity are not the only weather-related variables related to tinnitus. 

According to educational resource website, when the weather outside is very cold you may develop a condition referred to as exostosis or bone spur. Exostosis is the formation of new bone material on the surface of a bone. It is often to blame for cases of mild tinnitus because the growths make it difficult for sound to travel through the ear. Exostosis-related tinnitus is also referred to as “surfer’s ear” due to its prevalence among surfers who spend long periods of time in cold waters.

If you develop tinnitus, there are treatments and coping methods. The treatment in most cases is hearing rehabilitation with either hearing aids or surgery. See your physician to find out more, and remember that sometimes it actually is the weather that’s to blame.