Tinnitus is a condition that causes ringing, buzzing, and other noises in the ear in different volumes. To some, during the day, these sounds aren’t as noticeable, but by nighttime when you should be sleeping, you are left awake by these sounds – it’s enough to drive you mad.
Some of us experience tinnitus temporarily after being exposed to loud noises, such as being at a concert, while others live with this constant noise in the ears.
Nearly 25–30 million Americans suffer from tinnitus, and one in four patients would say the noise they hear is loud – so loud it can keep you tossing and turning at night.
There are several speculated causes for tinnitus including hearing loss; exposure to loud noise; ear disease; ear and sinus infections; ear, neck, and head injuries; TMJ disorders; earwax buildup; hormonal imbalances; cardiovascular disease; thyroid disorders; and the use of certain medications.
Tinnitus can make it difficult to fall asleep, prevent you from sleeping for a long period of time, lead to poor quality of sleep, and leave you feeling fatigued in the morning.
The relationship between poor sleep and tinnitus is cyclical – one feeds into the other. This can lead to additional issues including depression and anxiety and physical pain.
Tips to Improve Tinnitus and Improve Sleep
Avoid a too-quiet room: Ringing in the ears is much more noticeable when a room is quiet. Using an app or device to create sleep-friendly sounds may help drown out the ringing.
Meditation and mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness are important to help reduce stress. Studies have shown meditation to be a beneficial tool in better managing tinnitus, as it makes you focus on your breathing rather than the noise in your ears.
Other relaxation techniques: Tinnitus can provoke anxiety, so it’s important that you utilize techniques to help promote relaxation. Some other techniques include deep breathing exercises, progressive relaxation, guided imagery, aromatherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Limit use of earplugs: Earplugs, although they can protect your ears, can reduce the ability to hear external sounds and make tinnitus appear worse. Furthermore, frequent earplug use can lead to wax buildup and impaction, which can further worsen tinnitus.
Don’t ignore ear pain: Ear pain in combination with tinnitus could be a sign of another cause for tinnitus that, if left untreated, could worsen your symptoms. Always speak to your doctor about these types of symptoms.
Seek treatment for hearing problems: If you begin experiencing difficulties hearing, then speak to your doctor, as there could be an underlying medical condition that is triggering this. Underlying medical issues could also be contributing to your poor sleep.
Don’t try to “tough it out” when it comes to poor sleep linked with tinnitus. Speak to your doctor to discover how you can resolve the ringing in the ears and get a good night’s sleep.
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