At Night, the Ringing in my Ears Seems Louder

Man in bed at night suffering insomnia from severe tinnitus and ringing in the ear.

Tinnitus tends to get worse at night for most of the millions of people in the US that suffer with it. But what’s the reason for this? The ringing is a phantom noise caused by some medical disorder like hearing loss, it’s not an outside sound. Of course, knowing what it is will not explain why you have this buzzing, ringing, or whooshing noise more often during the night.

The truth is more common sense than you probably think. But first, we need to discover a little more about this all-too-common disorder.

Tinnitus, what is it?

To say tinnitus isn’t an actual sound just adds to the confusion, but, for most people, that is the case. It’s a noise no one else is able to hear. Your partner lying next to you in bed can’t hear it although it sounds like a maelstrom to you.

Tinnitus by itself is not a disease or condition, but an indication that something else is happening. It is usually associated with significant hearing loss. Tinnitus is frequently the first indication that hearing loss is Taking hold. Hearing loss is typically gradual, so they don’t notice it until that ringing or buzzing starts. This phantom sound is a warning flag to notify you of a change in how you hear.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is one of medical science’s greatest conundrums and doctors don’t have a clear comprehension of why it happens. It could be a symptom of inner ear damage or a number of other possible medical issues. The inner ear has lots of tiny hair cells made to vibrate in response to sound waves. Sometimes, when these tiny hairs get damaged to the point that they can’t efficiently send signals to the brain, tinnitus symptoms occur. These electrical messages are how the brain converts sound into something it can clearly comprehend like a car horn or someone talking.

The absence of sound is the base of the current theory. Your brain will start to fill in for signals that it’s not getting because of hearing loss. It gets confused by the lack of feedback from the ear and attempts to compensate for it.

When it comes to tinnitus, that would clarify some things. Why it can be caused by so many medical conditions, like age-related hearing loss, high blood pressure, and concussions, for starters. That may also be why the symptoms get worse at night sometimes.

Why does tinnitus get louder at night?

You might not even notice it, but your ear receives some sounds during the day. It hears very faintly the music or the TV playing in the other room. But during the night, when you’re trying to sleep, it gets really quiet.

All of a sudden, the brain becomes confused as it listens for sound to process. When confronted with complete silence, it resorts to producing its own internal sounds. Sensory deprivation has been shown to cause hallucinations as the brain attempts to insert information, like auditory input, into a place where there isn’t any.

In other words, your tinnitus may get louder at night because it’s so quiet. If you’re having a difficult time sleeping because your tinnitus symptoms are so loud, producing some noise might be the answer.

Generating noise at night

A fan running is frequently enough to reduce tinnitus symptoms for many individuals. The loudness of the ringing is reduced just by the sound of the fan motor.

But, there are also devices made to help those with tinnitus get to sleep. Environmental sounds, like ocean waves or rain, are produced by these “white noise machines”. If you were to keep a TV on, it may be distracting, but white noise machines create calming sounds that you can sleep through. Your smartphone also has the ability to download apps that will play calming sounds.

What else can worsen tinnitus symptoms?

Your tinnitus symptoms can be amplified by other things besides lack of sound. Too much alcohol before bed can lead to more extreme tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus also tends to become severe if you’re under stress and certain medical issues can lead to a flare-up, too, like high blood pressure. If introducing sound into your nighttime routine doesn’t help or you feel dizzy when the ringing is active, it’s time to find out about treatment solutions by making an appointment with us today.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.