If you are one of the 50 million Americans who lives with tinnitus, sleep may not come easily to you. Tinnitus is among a number of factors that cause sleeping difficulties among Americans that may require specific treatments for full relief. Read on to learn more about different ways to cope with and treat tinnitus, so you can get a good night’s sleep.
What is tinnitus?
If you experience the sensation of sound in your ears when there is an absence of noise, you’re likely experiencing tinnitus. Some of the most common symptoms of tinnitus include types of phantom noises such as:
- Static or Electric Sounds
Tinnitus affects 1 in 5 people and is most often a symptom of age-related hearing loss. While most people report tinnitus as only a mild distraction, even mild cases of tinnitus can significantly impact your quality of life—including your sleep patterns.
Effects of tinnitus on sleep
In 2014, the American Tinnitus Association (ASA) conducted a survey of its 1,100 members and found that 18% of respondents reported experiencing sleep problems or difficulty falling asleep.
Everyone experiences tinnitus differently, and the degree to which you experience tinnitus can help you determine the course of treatment you seek. Many tinnitus sufferers initially get stuck in what’s known as “the loop.”
The loop is a vicious cycle. The more attention you give to your tinnitus the louder it becomes, ultimately increasing your focus on it. To avoid getting caught in “the loop” there are a few things you can do.
Practice breathing exercises
Relaxing may be easier said than done, but clearing your mind before bed can help you fall asleep faster when your head hits the pillow. Breathing exercises are a simple, effective way to center yourself at night.
To help calm yourself before bed, breathe in deeply while counting to four. Then hold your breath for another four-counts before slowly exhaling for a final four-counts. You can even place your hand over your heart or on your stomach and focus on the rising and falling of your body with each breath.
Use soothing sounds
Instead of focusing on the sound of your tinnitus, focus on another sound. Turn on your overhead fan, some music on the radio, or invest in a soothing sound machine. You can even find white noise apps for your smartphone with soothing sounds like the wind, rain, a waterfall, or ocean waves.
Wear tinnitus-specific hearing devices
Hearing aids can also help people living with tinnitus. The most important thing to remember when living (and sleeping) with tinnitus, is to remain flexible with your method. What works for one person may not work for you, so be patient with yourself and give yourself some grace while figuring out what works best for you and your lifestyle.
If you need help treating tinnitus, contact one of our Connect Hearing professionals today. You’ll get the assistance you need to find the treatment that is right for you.