“That’s the advantage of insomnia. People who go to bed early always complain that the night is too short, but for those of us who stay up all night, it can feel as long as a lifetime. You get a lot done”
― Banana Yoshimoto
Insomnia and tinnitus is a combination of conditions that no one wants to find themselves with. Unfortunately, in many cases, the two go hand-in-hand and hearing health experts and other health practitioners are beginning to understand why. The good news is that understanding how insomnia and tinnitus are related and how to manage them can help many to minimize the effect they may have on your life.
Tinnitus with a side of insomnia
It is estimated that tinnitus, commonly referred to as a ringing or buzzing in the ears, affects over 45 million people in the United States. It is considered one of the most common health conditions and can be triggered by things such as:
- Loud noises
- Age-related hearing loss
- Certain medications
- High blood pressure and other medical conditions
Treating tinnitus is a top priority as it can lead to increased anxiety, reduced social interaction, and even depression. Now experts are finding that it may also come with a side of insomnia.
Tinnitus and insomnia: more similar than you may think
As researchers have taken a closer look at the link between insomnia and tinnitus, several insights have surfaced. Most importantly is the fact that psychologically, these two conditions are very similar and when experienced together can severely impact a person’s life. What may be most surprising, though, is that only about 50% of those who develop tinnitus also develop insomnia. This fact further supports the evidence that both conditions have psychological components requiring a comprehensive treatment plan.
Treating tinnitus and insomnia
Who hasn’t lain awake in bed worrying and overthinking on one night or another? For most of us, it’s just a part of life. For those with insomnia and tinnitus, however, it’s much more. It is a cycle of negative thoughts and worrying that create severe emotional distress and stress that amps up the system instead of allowing it to relax into sleep. When chronic, insomnia interrupts sleep several nights per week over several months.
However, this cycle doesn’t have to be permanent.
Experts recommend the following comprehensive treatment approach to those experiencing the frustrating combination of tinnitus and insomnia:
- A full assessment of the auditory system
- Patient education
- Assessment by a physician to identify underlying medical conditions
- Treatment of other related psychological issues including anxiety and depression
- Supporting strategies such as mindfulness for stress reduction
Research has also found Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to be an effective choice for managing both insomnia and tinnitus. This structured therapy helps train people to identify negative thoughts about their situation and reframe them to more realistic and positive thoughts.
When left untreated, insomnia and tinnitus can affect every aspect of your life. If you believe you have tinnitus, don’t put off treatment. Contact our office to schedule an evaluation and discuss the next steps for treatment.