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

Tinnitus tends to get worse at night for the majority of the millions of individuals in the US that experience it. But what’s the reason for this? The ringing is a phantom noise due to some medical disorder like hearing loss, it’s not an outside sound. Naturally, knowing what it is will not clarify why you have this buzzing, ringing, or whooshing noise more often during the night.

The reality is more common sense than you probably think. But first, we have to learn a little more about this all-too-common condition.

Tinnitus, what is it?

To say tinnitus is not an actual sound just adds to the confusion, but, for most people, that is the case. The person with tinnitus can hear the sound but nobody else can. Your partner lying next to you in bed can’t hear it even though it sounds like a tornado to you.

Tinnitus alone is not a disease or disorder, but an indication that something else is happening. It is usually associated with significant hearing loss. Tinnitus is frequently the first indication that hearing loss is Taking hold. Hearing loss is typically gradual, so they don’t detect it until that ringing or buzzing starts. Your hearing is changing if you begin to hear these noises, and they’re alerting you of those changes.

What causes tinnitus?

Presently medical scientists and doctors are still uncertain of exactly what causes tinnitus. It might be a symptom of inner ear damage or numerous other possible medical issues. The inner ear contains lots of tiny hair cells designed to vibrate in response to sound waves. Often, when these tiny hairs become damaged to the point that they can’t effectively send signals to the brain, tinnitus symptoms happen. Your brain translates these electrical signals into recognizable sounds.

The current theory pertaining to tinnitus has to do with the absence of sound. The brain stays on the alert to receive these messages, so when they don’t come, 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 clarify a few things. For starters, why it’s a symptom of so many different ailments that impact the ear: minor infections, concussions, and age-related hearing loss. That may also be the reason why the symptoms get louder at night sometimes.

Why are tinnitus sounds worse at night?

You may not even realize it, but your ear is picking up some sounds during the day. It hears very faintly the music or the TV playing somewhere close by. But during the night, when you’re trying to sleep, it gets really quiet.

Abruptly, all the sound fades away and the level of confusion in the brain goes up in response. It only knows one response when confronted with total silence – generate noise even if it’s not real. Sensory deprivation has been shown to induce hallucinations as the brain attempts to insert information, such as auditory input, into a place where there isn’t any.

In other words, your tinnitus may get worse at night because it’s so quiet. Creating sound might be the solution for people who can’t sleep because of that annoying ringing in the ear.

How to create noise at night

For some individuals suffering from tinnitus, all they require is a fan running in the background. Just the sound of the motor is enough to reduce the ringing.

But, there are also devices designed to help people who have tinnitus get to sleep. White noise machines reproduce environmental sounds like rain or ocean waves. The soft noise calms the tinnitus but isn’t distracting enough to keep you awake like keeping the TV on may do. Your smartphone also has the capability to download apps that will play soothing sounds.

What else can worsen tinnitus symptoms?

Lack of sound isn’t the only thing that can bring about an upsurge in your tinnitus. For instance, if you’re indulging in too much alcohol before you go to bed, that could contribute to tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus also tends to worsen if you’re under stress and certain medical problems can result in a flare-up, also, like high blood pressure. If adding sound into your nighttime program doesn’t help or you feel dizzy when the ringing is active, it’s time to find out about treatment solutions by making an appointment with us right away.

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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.
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