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

Tinnitus often gets worse at night for most of the millions of people in the US that experience it. But what’s the reason for this? The ringing is a phantom sound caused by some medical disorder like hearing loss, it’s not an outside sound. Naturally, knowing what it is will not explain why you have this buzzing, ringing, or whooshing noise more frequently during the night.

The real reason is fairly simple. To know why your tinnitus gets louder as you attempt to sleep, you need to understand the hows and whys of this really common medical issue.

What is tinnitus?

To say tinnitus isn’t a real sound just compounds the confusion, but, for most individuals, that is the case. It’s a sound no one else is able to hear. Your partner sleeping next to you in bed can’t hear it even though it sounds like a maelstrom to you.

Tinnitus alone is not a disease or condition, but a sign that something else is wrong. Substantial hearing loss is normally at the base of this disorder. Tinnitus is frequently the first sign that hearing loss is Taking hold. Hearing loss is typically gradual, so they don’t notice it until that ringing or buzzing starts. Your hearing is changing if you start 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 conditions. There are tiny hair cells inside of your ears that vibrate in response to sound. Tinnitus often means there is damage to those hair cells, enough to keep them from sending electrical signals to the brain. Your brain converts these electrical signals into identifiable sounds.

The present hypothesis pertaining to tinnitus is about the absence of sound. The brain stays on the alert to receive these messages, so when they don’t arrive, it fills in that space with the phantom noise of tinnitus. It gets perplexed by the lack of feedback from the ear and tries to compensate for it.

When it comes to tinnitus, that would explain a few things. For one, why it’s a symptom of so many different conditions that impact the ear: minor infections, concussions, and age-related hearing loss. It also tells you something about why the ringing gets worse at night for some people.

Why are tinnitus sounds louder at night?

Unless you are significantly deaf, your ear receives some sounds during the day whether you recognize it or not. It hears very faintly the music or the TV playing in the other room. But during the night, when you’re trying to sleep, it gets very quiet.

All of a sudden, the brain is thrown into confusion as it searches for sound to process. It only knows one response when faced with total silence – generate noise even if it’s not real. Sensory deprivation has been demonstrated to cause 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 might get worse at night because it’s so quiet. Creating sound may be the remedy for those who can’t sleep because of that aggravating ringing in the ear.

Creating noise at night

For some individuals dealing with tinnitus, all they require is a fan running in the background. Just the noise of the motor is enough to reduce the ringing.

But, there are also devices designed to help individuals who have tinnitus get to sleep. White noise machines replicate nature sounds like rain or ocean waves. The soft sound soothes the tinnitus but isn’t disruptive enough to keep you awake like leaving the TV on might do. Your smartphone also has the capability to download apps that will play soothing sounds.

Can anything else make tinnitus symptoms louder?

Lack of sound isn’t the only thing that can bring about an upsurge in your tinnitus. For example, if you’re indulging in too much alcohol before you go to bed, that could be a contributing factor. Other things, like high blood pressure and stress can also contribute to your symptoms. Contact us for an appointment if these tips aren’t helping or if you’re feeling dizzy when your tinnitus symptoms are active.

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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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