Hearing Solutions - Yukon, OK

Man in bed at night suffering insomnia from severe tinnitus and ringing in the ear.

Tinnitus tends to get worse at night for most of the millions of people in the US that suffer with it. But why should this be? The ringing or buzzing in one or both ears isn’t an actual noise but a complication of a medical problem like hearing loss, either lasting or temporary. Naturally, knowing what it is will not clarify why you have this buzzing, ringing, or whooshing noise more frequently at night.

The real reason is pretty straightforward. To know why your tinnitus increases as you attempt to sleep, you need to know the hows and whys of this extremely common medical problem.

Tinnitus, what is it?

For most people, tinnitus isn’t an actual sound, but this fact just adds to the confusion. It’s a sound no one else is able to hear. Your partner lying next to you in bed can’t hear it although it sounds like a maelstrom to you.

Tinnitus is a sign that something is not right, not a disorder by itself. Substantial hearing loss is generally the root of this condition. Tinnitus is frequently the first indication that hearing loss is Taking hold. Individuals who have hearing loss frequently don’t notice their condition until the tinnitus symptoms begin because it progresses so gradually. Your hearing is changing if you begin to hear these sounds, and they’re warning you of those changes.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is one of medical science’s greatest mysteries and doctors don’t have a strong comprehension of why it occurs. It might be a symptom of numerous medical issues including inner ear damage. The inner ear has lots of tiny hair cells designed to move in response to sound waves. Often, when these little hairs get damaged to the point that they can’t efficiently send messages to the brain, tinnitus symptoms happen. These electrical signals are how the brain translates sound into something it can clearly comprehend like a car horn or a person speaking.

The current theory pertaining to tinnitus has to do with the absence of sound. The brain stays on the alert to get these messages, so when they don’t come, it fills that space with the phantom sound of tinnitus. It attempts to compensate for sound that it’s not getting.

When it comes to tinnitus, that would clarify a few things. For one, why it’s a symptom of so many different ailments that impact the ear: mild infections, concussions, and age-related hearing loss. That may also be why the symptoms get worse at night sometimes.

Why are tinnitus sounds louder at night?

You may not even notice it, but your ear is picking up some sounds during the day. It will faintly pick up sounds coming from a different room or around the corner. But during the night, when you’re trying to sleep, it gets really quiet.

Suddenly, all the sound disappears and the level of confusion in the brain goes up in response. When confronted with total silence, it resorts to creating its own internal sounds. Sensory deprivation has been demonstrated to trigger hallucinations as the brain attempts to insert information, like auditory input, into a place where there isn’t any.

In other words, it’s too quiet at night so your tinnitus seems louder. Creating sound may be the remedy for people who can’t sleep due to that annoying ringing in the ear.

Creating noise at night

A fan running is often enough to decrease tinnitus symptoms for many individuals. Just the sound of the motor is enough to quiet the ringing.

But you can also get devices that are specifically made to reduce tinnitus sounds. Environmental sounds, like ocean waves or rain, are produced by these “white noise machines”. If you were to keep a TV on, it might be disruptive, but white noise machines produce soothing sounds that you can sleep through. As an alternative, you could go with an app that plays calming sounds from your smartphone.

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 severe tinnitus symptoms. Other things, including high blood pressure and stress can also contribute to your symptoms. Contact us for an appointment if these suggestions aren’t helping or if you’re feeling dizzy when your tinnitus symptoms are present.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.