If you are one of the millions of people in the U.S. suffering from a medical disorder known as tinnitus then you most likely know that it tends to get worse when you are trying to fall asleep. But why should this be? The ringing or buzzing in one or both ears is not an actual noise but a complication of a medical issue like hearing loss, either permanent or temporary. Naturally, knowing what it is will not clarify why you have this buzzing, ringing, or whooshing noise more often during the night.
The real reason is pretty straightforward. But first, we have to learn a little more about this all-too-common disorder.
Tinnitus, what is it?
For most individuals, tinnitus isn’t a real sound, but this fact just compounds the confusion. It’s a noise no one else can hear. Your partner sleeping next to you in bed can’t hear it even though it sounds like a maelstrom to you.
Tinnitus by itself is not a disease or condition, but an indication that something else is happening. Substantial hearing loss is usually the root of this disorder. Tinnitus is frequently the first indication that hearing loss is Taking hold. Hearing loss tends to be gradual, so they don’t detect it until that ringing or buzzing starts. Your hearing is changing if you begin to hear these sounds, and they’re alerting you of those changes.
What causes tinnitus?
Presently medical scientists and doctors are still unsure of exactly what causes tinnitus. It may be a symptom of numerous medical problems including damage to the inner ear. The inner ear contains lots of tiny hair cells made to vibrate in response to sound waves. Sometimes, when these little hairs become damaged to the point that they can’t efficiently send signals to the brain, tinnitus symptoms happen. Your brain translates these electrical signals into identifiable sounds.
The present theory pertaining to tinnitus is about the absence of sound. The brain stays on the alert to get these messages, so when they don’t arrive, it fills in that space with the phantom sound of tinnitus. It attempts to compensate for sound that it’s not receiving.
When it comes to tinnitus, that would explain a few things. Why it can be caused by so many medical conditions, like age-related hearing loss, high blood pressure, and concussions, for starters. It also tells you something about why the ringing gets louder at night for some people.
Why does tinnitus get worse at night?
Unless you are profoundly deaf, your ear receives some sounds during the day whether you realize it or not. It will faintly pick up sounds coming from another room or around the corner. At the very least, you hear your own voice, but that all goes quiet during the night when you try to fall asleep.
All of a sudden, the brain is thrown into confusion as it listens for sound to process. When faced with complete silence, it resorts to producing its own internal sounds. Sensory deprivation has been demonstrated to trigger hallucinations as the brain tries to insert information, including auditory input, into a place where there isn’t any.
In other words, it’s too quiet at night so your tinnitus seems louder. Producing sound might be the solution for those who can’t sleep because of that annoying ringing in the ear.
How to create noise at night
A fan running is frequently enough to reduce tinnitus symptoms for many people. The volume of the ringing is decreased just by the sound of the motor of the fan.
But you can also get devices that are specifically made to lessen tinnitus sounds. Natural sounds, like ocean waves or rain, are produced by these “white noise machines”. If you were to keep a TV on, it might be distracting, but white noise machines create calming sounds that you can sleep through. Your smartphone also has the ability to download apps that will play calming sounds.
What else can worsen tinnitus symptoms?
Lack of sound isn’t the only thing that can cause an upsurge in your tinnitus. Too much alcohol before bed can contribute to more extreme tinnitus symptoms. Other things, including high blood pressure and stress can also contribute to your symptoms. If introducing sound into your nighttime program doesn’t help or you feel dizzy when the ringing is present, it’s time to learn about treatment solutions by making an appointment with us right away.