Getting restful sleep is vital to our overall health and wellbeing. It also may provide answers when it comes to managing tinnitus.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is often described as a ringing in the ears, but can also sound like hissing, buzzing, roaring, sizzling, clicking or other noise. In most cases tinnitus is subjective, which means it can only be heard by the person experiencing it and not by another observer, such as an audiologist.
For some people, the condition is mild or comes and goes rather quickly. However, others can experience chronic symptoms that last for weeks, months or even years. These symptoms can interfere with a person’s daily life. Moderate to severe tinnitus can increase feelings of depression and anxiety and interfere with getting a good night’s sleep.
The Relationship Between Tinnitus and Sleep
While tinnitus can interfere with sleep, sleep research may hold more clues on how to treat tinnitus. A recent research review found that several brain mechanisms play a role in both sleep and tinnitus.
One of the more important stages of sleep is slow-wave sleep, otherwise known as deep sleep. During slow-wave sleep, brain activity moves in waves throughout the different areas of the brain. It’s thought that this stage helps the brain’s neurons recover from daily stressors and helps us to feel more rested.
In certain sleep disorders, like sleepwalking, certain parts of the brain are overactive during the slow-wave phase. Researchers believe the same is true for people with tinnitus, which is why sufferers experience lighter and more disturbed sleep than those without tinnitus.
However, people with tinnitus can still experience deep sleep, leading researchers to believe that when slow-wave activity is at its strongest, it can prevent hyperactive parts of the brain from disrupting other parts of the brain and interfering with sleep.
It’s possible that boosting the amount of slow-wave sleep a person gets can help treat or reduce their tinnitus symptoms.
As we keep an eye on the latest research, we remain committed to offering you the best tinnitus management options available. Some methods that may improve your symptoms include:
- Noise suppression or masking techniques
- Hearing aids, if your tinnitus is related to hearing loss
- Tinnitus retraining therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Stress reduction techniques like mediation or a taking a class at Yoga Bird
If tinnitus is interfering with your life call Gulf Coast Audiology today to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.