Some people who experienced tinnitus only experience temporary symptoms that resolve themselves in a few days. However, others experience chronic symptoms that can last weeks, months or even years. It can interfere with their ability to work or socialize and affect their quality of sleep.
Tinnitus Can Get in the Way of a Good Night’s Sleep
Tinnitus can affect your ability to get quality sleep in several ways. First, when you’re trying to fall asleep at night, the ringing, buzzing or other noise in your ear can seem even more pronounced. It can be irritating and prevent you from falling asleep.
Many people with moderate to severe tinnitus symptoms also experience increased stress and higher levels of anxiety and depression—all of which can lead to trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. A vicious cycle can also develop where your tinnitus makes it harder to sleep, which worsens your levels of stress and anxiety, which then leads to even less sleep and possibly more pronounced tinnitus.
Can Deep Sleep Cure Tinnitus?
While sleep may be difficult for people with tinnitus, researchers at the University of Oxford also posit that it may hold the key to a potential cure.
Deep sleep is considered the most restful stage of sleep. It is also referred to as slow-wave sleep. During this phase, brain activity moves in waves throughout the brain and supposedly helps the neurons in the brain recover from daily stress.
However, not everyone gets the same amount of slow-wave sleep. Researchers believe that certain parts of the brain remain overactive during the slow-wave phase in people with tinnitus. This could explain why people with the condition often experience lighter sleep and more sleep disturbances.
Even so, there do appear to be times when tinnitus sufferers are able to achieve deep sleep, in part because their tinnitus is suppressed. This has led researchers to believe that when slow-wave activity is at its strongest, it prevents hyperactive parts of the brain from causing disruptions that wake people up.
Therefore, it may be possible that if we can increase the amount of slow-wave sleep a person gets, it may offer relief from their tinnitus symptoms.
As we stay on top of the latest research developments, we also aim to help treat tinnitus for people who are dealing with symptoms now. If you would like to schedule an appointment for a tinnitus evaluation, call Hearing Systems today.