Many people with hearing loss also have symptoms of tinnitus. Though tinnitus does not often indicate something very serious, it can be a disrupting and annoying symptom that may cause sufferers trouble sleeping. However, the condition can be treated with hearing loss solutions known as tinnitus maskers as well as other methods.
There are many things that can make tinnitus better, like reducing stress and being generally healthy, but tinnitus can also be made worse in a various ways. For example, a 2012 study by Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found that experiencing insomnia could make tinnitus symptoms more severe – or, at the very least, be perceived as less tolerable to particular patients.
"Tinnitus involves cognitive, emotional, and psycho-physiological processes, which can result in an increase in a patient's distress," said Dr. Kathleen L. Yaremchuk, one of the study's authors and an otolaryngologist. "Sleep complaints, including insomnia, in these patients may result in a decrease in their tolerance to tinnitus."
Yaremchuk said that one problem with this association is that often it is a cycle where it's difficult to tell which came first:
"And one of [the] most frequent self-reported complaint[s] of tinnitus patients is 'getting to sleep,'" she said.
On the bright side, the study made clear that evaluating and treating insomnia patients could reduce the severity of their tinnitus symptoms.
If you have insomnia and also experience tinnitus, it might be a good idea to see a sleep specialist. There are also some things you can try on your own to get better sleep. Here are some tips:
- Do your best to keep a sleep schedule. Try to get in bed at the same time each night and to wake up the same time each morning, even on the weekends. This will regulate your body's sleep-wake schedule.
- Have a bedtime ritual that helps you relax. This can help you stick to your sleep schedule and involves easing your transition from wakefulness into drowsiness.Your ritual can involve things like reading, taking a hot shower or meditating – whatever helps you relax.
- However, your bedtime ritual should not involve bright lights, TV or time on a laptop. The blue light given off during screen time has proven to be too stimulating and can cause a delay in the onset of sleep.
- If you can't fall asleep after 15 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing. It's not good to be stressed out about falling asleep.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least eight hours before bed time. These substances are stimulating and do not create the state necessary for sleep to occur.