Tinnitus, i.e. the perception of ringing/buzzing in the ear, may occur during the day or at night. However, some sufferers only perceive ringing in ears at night or, indeed, find that it increases at night. Find out what causes this phenomenon and how you can treat tinnitus so you can be assured of a good night’s sleep, undisturbed by night time tinnitus.
Tinnitus is the conscious sensation of a buzzing or ringing sound that is perceived in one or both ears in the absence of physical sources external or internal to the body. Occurring more frequently in the adult/elderly population, it is often associated with hearing damage resulting from various pathologies affecting the ear. As to whether tinnitus only happens at night, tinnitus can occur at any time throughout the day. However, the characteristic ringing in the ears at night, is often perceived as louder than day time tinnitus. The answer as to why tinnitus can worsen at night, will be answered in the paragraph about Causes.
Tinnitus at night can cause a wide variety of sounds. These may vary throughout the night, from a whistling, hissing, hammering or buzzing sound, to a ringing, knocking or creaking. Sounds may occur singly or mixed, sporadically or constantly and may vary in frequency and intensity and occur in one or both ears. Most commonly, patients describe sounds ranging from a high-pitched ringing in the left ear, the right ear or indeed both. Likewise, patients also report hearing single beeps or a monotonous, lower-pitched murmur.
It is generally recommended you consult a doctor if your tinnitus is pulsatile (i.e. you can hear your heartbeat pulsing in your ear); likewise, if you experience hearing loss, vertigo or dizziness.
You can contact a tinnitus specialist at Amplifon to understand whether you should see your doctor.
In addition to what causes it, you might be asking why tinnitus gets worse at night. If you are interested in causes of tinnitus in general, we recommend reading the article: Possible causes of tinnitus.
Frequently, the reason why we experience increases and decreases in our perception of tinnitus are the levels of environmental noise surrounding us. These levels can determine a "masking effect": i.e. tinnitus will be perceived at a lower intensity in noisy places, for example, in shopping centres, but can be particularly disturbing in quieter times of the day. In the evening and at night, when ambient sounds and noises are generally reduced, this increased perception of tinnitus may produce difficulties in falling asleep.
In addition to a reduction in environmental noise, the simple act of closing your eyes when going to bed, determines a lack of visual stimulation that reduces our attention only to the auditory canal, with consequent amplification of all those sensations that come from this organ.
The first rule to reduce tinnitus at night is to avoid absolute silence, as this may result in hyper-excitability of the acoustic pathways, thereby aggravating the situation by enhancing perception of tinnitus.
Indeed, the false sensation of an increased perception of tinnitus in a quiet environment has resulted in the birth of "sound therapy". Consisting of raising or enriching the ambient sound levels of tinnitus suffers, sound enrichment strategies for patients with normal-hearing, employ wearable or bedside devices to deliver one or more types of sound in order to interfere with perception of symptoms and reduce tinnitus at night.
For people with hearing impairments, the application of hearing aids results in an increase in hearing capacity with a reduction in the perception of tinnitus. The latest generation hearing aids are able to deliver specific sounds - for example, sounds of nature, broadband sounds – thereby providing an auditory distraction and inducing relaxation to relieve tinnitus at night. If you want to learn more about the Amplifon Tinnitus Noiser, book a free consultation in a clinic near you.