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Welcome back to our regular series with certified sleep educator Terry Cralle, MS, RN. In this post, Cralle shares strategies for sleeping better when you have tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears.
If you experience a ringing, rushing, hissing, humming, buzzing, or other sounds in your ears, you’re not alone. Nearly 50 million Americans have tinnitus, an audiological and neurological condition that has no cure.
Tinnitus can be acute or it can be chronic and persistent. When tinnitus persists for more than six months, it’s known as chronic tinnitus. While most people with chronic tinnitus get used to the ringing over time, one in five will find it disturbing or debilitating. It’s more common in people over age 55 and is strongly associated with hearing loss.
Sometimes, tinnitus can be so loud and distracting that it can interfere with a person’s ability to sleep, work, and socialize. According to tinnitus expert Pawel Jastreboff, PhD, for 4%-5% of the general population, tinnitus leads to significant suffering including severe sleep deprivation.
Here, learn more about what causes tinnitus and what you can do to prevent it from ruining your sleep.
Testing And Treatment For Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If you suspect you have tinnitus and obstructive sleep apnea, youll need to undergo a sleep assessment to confirm the diagnosis.
With ApneaMeds home sleep study, you can self-administer the sleep apnea test from the comfort of your home. While you sleep, a device will monitor and record your blood oxygen levels, blood oxygen saturation, breathing, and heart rates.
Following your test, one of ApneaMeds board-certified sleep physicians will review the results and determine which treatment youre best suited for, such as CPAP therapy.
If you have any questions about at-home sleep apnea test or our sleep apnea treatment equipment, contact our team to
Can Treatment Help Reduce The Risk For Hearing Loss
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy is currently the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment as its non-invasive and effective for most S.A. sufferers. There currently havent been many studies about CPAPs effects on hearing loss. However, theres a lot of anecdotal evidence out there from people with both sleep apnea and hearing loss or tinnitus. Some people have noticed their tinnitus symptoms improved after starting CPAP therapy.
Why might a CPAP help with S.A. related hearing loss? CPAP therapy can help increase blood oxygen levels and blood flow, which may help prevent damage to your ears. Also, using your CPAP device as you sleep can also help prevent apnea events that may raise your blood pressure and lead to tinnitus problems from hypertension. Therefore, CPAP therapy may help not only with symptoms of sleep apnea, it may also help reduce your risk for hearing impairment.
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Sleep Deprivation Modifies Noise
- 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
- 2Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
- 3Key Laboratory of Environment and Health, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Environmental Protection, State Key Laboratory of Environmental Health , School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
- 4Department of Clinical Immunology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Sciences and Technology, Wuhan, China
Can You Get Ringing In Your Ears From A Lack Of Sleep
Insomnia and tinnitus are part of a complex cycle for poor sleep and sleep disruption. While insomnia doesnt cause tinnitus, a poor sleep pattern could affect you more long-term than you might think. Insomnia makes various conditions worse.
There are actually many conditions connected to both hearing loss and insomnia. Since lack of sleep can damage blood circulation throughout the body, including in your ears, it can make it harder for you to hear normally.
Over time, extended sleep deprivation can lead to sensations of ear pressure and hearing loss. The same issues with circulation could also lead to problems with cardiovascular disease, and overall heart health.
Theres also a potential connection between poor sleep, hearing loss, and sleep apnea. According to some studies, around 43% of people with insomnia already have sleep apnea a condition known for causing breathing problems and restlessness.
People with severe sleep apnea can wake up as many as 30 times per hour. Studies also show people with sleep apnea can have larger amounts of plaque in their blood vessels, particularly if the apnea is caused by weight issues.
More plaque in the blood vessels restricts blood flow, which again has an impact on your hearing.
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Sleep Apnea Hearing Loss And Other Conditions
S.A. also increases your risk for other conditions. Some of these may also increase your risk for hearing loss. For example, hearing specialists have noticed a connection between heart disease and hearing impairment. Sleep apnea increases your risk for cardiovascular disease. This may act as a double-whammy for your risks of hearing loss.
High blood pressure is a common condition that can contribute to tinnitus and hearing loss. Sleep apnea is also associated with difficult-to-control high blood pressure. During apnea events, oxygen levels in your body suddenly drop. Your body then raises your blood pressure. These frequent spikes in blood pressure can lead to hypertension, which can also lead to or worsen hearing problems.
S.A. can also affect your metabolic system and increase your risk for diabetes. Diabetes can also lead to hearing loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels in your inner ear. Therefore, there may be an indirect connection between sleep apnea and hearing loss as well.
Have Sleep Apnea You Might Have Hearing Loss Too
Contributed by Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy HearingLast updated March 18, 20192019-03-18T00:00:00-05:00
If youâve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may want to schedule a appointment to see a hearing care professional, too.
Both hearing loss and sleep apnea canhave a negative impact on your personalrelationships.
While researchers are still studying the relationship between the two, hearing loss and sleep apnea appear strongly linked, according to several studies published in the past few years.
One, a study of nearly 14,000 people found that hearing impairment was more common among those who had a higher body mass index, snored and had severe sleep apnea. Study participants received in-home sleep apnea studies and on-site audiometric testing.
Another, much smaller study found that among people with severe obstructive sleep apnea, those with the lowest oxygen levels were much more likely to have hearing impairment.
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Sleep Apnea Treatment From Our Mens Health Clinic
At Low T Center, we are one of the leading sleep apnea treatment providers in the U.S. Our team is here to help you feel better and provide convenient, affordable, and simple healthcare for a wide range of conditions that can affect your health and lifestyle. When you visit a Low T Center mens health clinic, we make the process seamless and easy to identify underlying causes of your symptoms. Our team also provides ongoing monitoring to help you maximize results. Book an appointment at a Low T Center near you today to address your symptoms and overall health!
Eleven Strategies To Improve Sleep When You Have Tinnitus
There are few things in life more frustrating than tossing and turning in bed when you just want to fall asleep.
You stare at the clock, mind racing as the seconds tick by, knowing that every minute awake is borrowed against how youll feel tomorrow. It can be so stressful.
But when you live with tinnitus, the medical term for ringing in your ears, the sound never stops, and sleep can quickly become a major everyday problem.
The noise alone can keep you up for hours, while the anxiety of it all makes it hard to stay asleep once you actually get there. And its a vicious cyclesleep deprivation can make tinnitus worse, which in turn makes it harder to fall asleep.
But if youre struggling with tinnitus, that doesnt mean you just have to suffer each night. With the right approach, you can fall into a deep, restful sleep, much more quickly.
Here are 11 strategies you can use to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and improve the overall quality of your sleep each night.
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What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Tinnitus Sufferers
Theres no position thats explicitly recommended. As a rule, nap in whichever position makes you the most comfortable and will help you fall asleep faster. If you have the ringing in one ear only, you may find that lying on your side with the affected ear either exposed or covered is helpful.
If youre wearing headphones or earbuds to provide a noise distraction, you might want to lie on your back to avoid putting pressure on your ear or the side of your face.
How To Treat Tinnitus And Sleep Apnea
If sleep apnea and tinnitus make it difficult for you to get a sound nights sleep, CPAP therapy can help. Commonly used to treat sleep apnea, CPAP therapy can also minimize tinnitus because of your bodys improved blood oxygen levels. As these levels improve, there is a reduction of pressure on your ears, which simultaneously alleviates tinnitus symptoms.
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Animals And Experimental Procedure
Female BALB/C mice were used for in vivo studies. The in vitro experiments involved post-natal day 3 rats. Animals were purchased from Beijing Vital River Laboratory Animal Technology Co., Ltd. Animal care and experimental protocols were approved by the Animal Research and Ethics Committee of Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China.
For the in vivo study, the animals were divided into six groups, including control , acoustic trauma-alone , 1 day SD-alone , 1d SD pre-AT , 5d SD-alone , and 5d SD pre-AT . Animals were then subjected to a range of different procedures, as illustrated in Figure 1. Auditory brainstem response thresholds were tested at baseline , immediately after SD , immediately after AT , and 2 weeks after AT . For hearing measurements, and acoustic overexposures, animals were anesthetized with the mixture of chlorpromazine hydrochloride at a dose of 20 mg/kg body weight , and ketamine hydrochloride at a dose of 120 mg/kg body weight . Two weeks after AT, or sham AT, the animals were sacrificed. Tissues were then collected and prepared for analysis.
Figure 1. Experimental procedure for animals. Experimental timeline for six groups: control , AT , 1d SD , 1d + AT , 5d SD , 5d + AT . ABR, auditory brainstem response recording.
What Does Sleep Apnea Have To Do With Hearing Loss
Sleep apnea is more than just a series of restless nights. Research has shown that this chronic sleep disorder can negatively impact your health in many ways. Studies now show that this may extend to your ears.
One study on the association between sleep apnea and hearing impairment found startling results for those who had S.A. Findings showed they were:
- 90% more likely to have low frequency hearing loss
- 30% more likely to experience high frequency hearing loss
- About 40% more likely to experience both low and high frequency hearing loss
Considering that most human speech falls into the low frequency category, these numbers are concerning. Those with S.A. and low frequency hearing loss may have difficulty hearing speech and, by extension, may have a hard time communicating with others. This can impact your quality of life.
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Structure A Relaxing Evening Routine
One of the most helpful things you can do to fall asleep faster is establish a relaxation routine that you follow each evening before you go to bed.
Many common nighttime activities like watching TV or playing on your phone can actually make it harder to fall asleep. Instead, create a routine that promotes relaxation and calm to help deal with the stress and anxiety of tinnitus. Anything that relaxes you mentally or physically is going to be helpful here. The goal is to do whatever you can to calm your over-agitated nervous system.
- Physical relaxation examples: Take a hot bath, trigger point self-massage with a lacrosse ball or tennis ball, stretching, and progressive muscle relaxation techniques
- Mental relaxation examples: Read a book , meditate, practice breathing techniques, listen to relaxing music, spend quality time with a loved one or pet.
Whatever relaxation techniques you choose, just be consistent and follow the same routine each night. Pretty quickly, your brain will start to associate the routine with falling asleep, and youll find yourself feeling tired and yawning before you even get in bed.
Get Up At The Same Time Daily
Our bodies run a 24-hour internal clock called a circadian rhythm. This biological clock controls our sleep, appetite, hormone levels and more. When its out of sync, we suffer from all sorts of health challenges.
The most effective way to reset it and make sure were healthy is to wake up and get out of bed at the same time each day. Maintaining this regimented schedule will also cause you to feel tired when its time for bed and potentially reduce the risk of having this condition interfere with your shuteye.
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Your Ears Give Madame Tussaud A Run For Her Money
No, your ears are not a world-famous wax museum.
Sometimes people get tinnitus because they are over-producing wax, which can happen when people try to clean their ears with a cotton swab.
Cleaning your ears with cotton swabs can push old, dirty wax that was on its way out of the canal back into the ear and can also cause your ear to react by producing more wax. Both of these things can result in a blockage of the ear canal, which can cause ringing in the ears.
When you use a cotton swab, make sure you only clean the outside of your ear. If you think you have too much wax build-up in your ears, you should have a hearing specialist check your ears. Theyll determine the best course of action for you, which usually involves a professional removing the excess wax.
The Effects Of Acute Stress
1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, P.O. Box 913, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
2Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
Chronic tinnitus is a debilitating condition affecting about 10% of the adult population . As ageing occurs, its prevalence increases, affecting 14.3% of the population between the ages of 60 and 69 . Despite numerous studies investigating the underlying mechanisms and therapeutic options, to date, there is no effective treatment for tinnitus. Tinnitus treatment is complicated not only by a poor understanding of its mechanisms but also by the variations in individuals reactions to its perception. For example, while some people can tolerate their tinnitus, others feel severely distressed and handicapped . It has been shown that patients with tinnitus that causes distress often have high rates of psychopathological conditions . Specifically, tinnitus severity has been associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, and sleeping disturbance .
2.2. Acoustic Trauma to Induce Tinnitus
2.3. Auditory Brainstem Responses
2.4. Cage Exchange to Induce Sleep Disturbance
2.5. Tinnitus Assessment
2.7. Statistical Analysis
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Sd Had No Effect On Hearing Threshold But Temporarily Elevated The Abr Wave I Amplitude
To test the effect of SD on the auditory system, we examined the audiometric threshold shifts for different SD groups. As shown in Figure 2A, there were no significant differences in terms of hearing thresholds for click and pure tones stimuli, as measured by ABR between the SD groups and the control group. Similarly, there were no statistically significant differences in the loss of OHCs loss when compared across the control group, the 1d SD group, and the 5d SD group .
Table 1.Post hoc comparisons of ABR wave I amplitude evoked by noise burst stimuli at post-SD.
We calculated suprathreshold wave I amplitudes at three timepoints: pre-SD, post-SD, and post-2w. As shown in Figure 2C, the baseline of the ABR wave I amplitudes for all groups were all at the same level. After SD, a significant elevation in ABR wave I amplitude was observed in both of the sleep- deprived groups when compared with the control group. After 2 weeks, the ABR wave I amplitudes of the SD groups reduced to levels that were equivalent to the control group.
Then, we counted the numbers of IHC ribbons contacting auditory afferent nerve fibers by fluorescence immunohistochemistry using an antibody raised against CtBP2/RIBEYE as a metric for IHC afferent innervation at post-2w. Similar to the wave I amplitude data, we did not detect any significant differences in the ribbon count from the basal and middle turns when compared between SD groups and the control group .
Tinnitus And Sleep Apnea
The definition of tinnitus is hearing noise without any external source. Most people experience this as a constant ringing in the ears. If youve ever heard ringing after listening to loud music, it may be similar to this. However, tinnitus can also present as other sounds like clicking, roaring, or buzzing.
The link between sleep apnea and tinnitus is somewhat less studied. However, one recent study found that tinnitus was more common in patients who were middle aged and had a sleep disorder, especially sleep apnea.
Like hearing loss, damaged cells inside your ear may be to blame for tinnitus. Several researchers have theorized that sleep apnea may cause this damage, which may explain why many people with S.A. also experience tinnitus.
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Is Cpap The Solution
Maybe. A research review published in 2020 suggests that CPAP may have both positive and negative impacts on tinnitus.7
CPAP may benefit someone with OSA who also has tinnitus by:7
- Preventing periods of low blood oxygen
- Improving sleep quality
- Masking the sound of ringing ears through the CPAP machines white noise
However, CPAP use may complicate issues with tinnitus by:
- Introducing increases in middle ear pressure which could affect hearing
- Damaging the organs of the ear due to rapid, excessive changes in pressure during CPAP use
- Leading to vertigo
The likelihood of these complications remains so rare that, in the big picture, its a better bet to treat your OSA, which may also take care of your tinnitus.