If you’ve ever experienced a ringing, buzzing or hissing sound in your ears, you’re not alone. Chronic “ringing ear,” medically known as tinnitus, affects about 1 in 5 people or 36 million Americans. It affects men more often than women, and is more common in people over 40 years old. Tinnitus isn’t a disorder in itself, but a symptom of a larger problem, such as age-related hearing loss, a circulatory system disorder, or injury to the ear. In some cases, medications are to blame for tinnitus, such as aspirin, antibiotics or diuretics.
Causes of Ringing Ear
While the cause is unknown, certain conditions may trigger or worsen the condition, such as exposure to loud noise, buildup of earwax and injuries to the head and neck. Disorders such as Lyme disease, fibromyalgia and hypo-or hyperthyroidism may also aggravate tinnitus. Recent research proves that poor sleep makes it more difficult to live with the condition.
Some of the complications of tinnitus include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Concentration difficulty
- Memory problems
- Irritability or anxiety
Ringing Ear and Insomnia
A study including 117 patients with tinnitus found that the more severe their insomnia, the more they had complaints about their ringing ear symptoms. This, in turn, also heightened their emotional distress. Treatment of insomnia in tinnitus patients may reduce the symptoms of ringing ear.
Tinnitus problems can also create a vicious cycle of sleep problems and anxiety. The noise experienced may be so intrusive and annoying that it can make sleeping very difficult. Fortunately, there are treatments for tinnitus which can help you sleep better.
Ringing Ear Treatments
In order to treat your tinnitus, your doctor will evaluate you for an underlying condition which may be associated with the symptoms you experience. If your tinnitus is linked to a health problem, your physician could possibly reduce the ringing noise through the following methods:
- Earwax removal
- Treating blood vessel conditions
- Changing your medication
Coping with Ringing Ear and Sleep Disorders
- Create a sleep environment with soft white noise to cancel out the ringing from your tinnitus. It can be useful to turn on a low fan, quiet music or ambient sound recordings.
- Avoid stimulants and alcohol before bedtime, as these can delay the onset of sleep and upset sleep patterns.
- The American Tinnitus Association recommends using magnesium or zinc supplements, ginkgo biloba, and vitamin B to help manage tinnitus. These can induce muscle relaxation and promote sleep.
- Daily exercise can help you sleep better at night. However, Make sure not to exercise so close to bedtime, as it can have an energizing effect.
Consult a physician before starting any alternative treatment for tinnitus, such as acupuncture, hypnosis or another form of holistic medicine. Always ask your doctor before trying any alternative or herbal medicine, as these are no regulated by the FDA and unproven to treat tinnitus.
Your doctor may choose to prescribe a sleeping aid medication if you find no relief though relaxation techniques and altering sleep hygiene.
If you are interested in finding out more about ringing ear and its affect on sleep, as well as treatment options, call The Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute at 1-855-690-0563 and one of our representatives will be happy to answer any of your questions.