North Richland Hills, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

Why is The Buzzing in my Ears Worse at Night?

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

If you are one of the millions of individuals in the U.S. suffering from a medical disorder called tinnitus then you probably know that it often gets worse when you are attempting to fall asleep. But why would this be? The ringing is a phantom sound due to some medical condition like hearing loss, it isn’t an external sound. But none of that information can give a reason why this ringing becomes louder during the night.

The reality is more common sense than you may think. But first, we have to learn a little more about this all-too-common condition.

What is tinnitus?

To say tinnitus isn’t an actual sound just compounds the confusion, but, for most individuals, that is the case. It’s a sound no one else can hear. It sounds like air-raid sirens are ringing in your ears but the person sleeping right beside you can’t hear it at all.

Tinnitus by itself isn’t a disease or disorder, but a sign that something else is happening. Substantial hearing loss is usually at the base of this disorder. 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 begins. This phantom noise is a warning flag to notify you of a change in your hearing.

What causes tinnitus?

At this time medical scientists and doctors are still not sure of exactly what triggers tinnitus. It may be a symptom of inner ear damage or numerous other possible medical conditions. There are very small hair cells inside of your ears that move in response to sound. Sometimes, when these little hairs become damaged to the point that they can’t efficiently send messages to the brain, tinnitus symptoms happen. Your brain converts these electrical signals into recognizable sounds.

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

That would clarify some things regarding tinnitus. Why it can be caused by so many medical conditions, like age-related hearing loss, high blood pressure, and concussions, to begin with. That could also be why the symptoms get louder at night sometimes.

Why are tinnitus sounds louder at night?

You may not even realize it, but your ear is picking up some sounds during the day. It hears very faintly the music or the TV playing in the other room. But at night, when you’re trying to sleep, it gets very quiet.

All of a sudden, the brain becomes confused as it listens for sound to process. It only knows one thing to do when faced with complete silence – generate noise even if it’s not real. Hallucinations, like phantom sounds, are often the result of sensory deprivation as the brain tries to produce input where there isn’t any.

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

Generating noise at night

A fan running is often enough to decrease tinnitus symptoms for many individuals. The volume of the ringing is decreased just by the sound of the fan motor.

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

Can anything else make tinnitus symptoms worse?

Your tinnitus symptoms can be amplified by other things besides lack of sound. Too much alcohol before bed can contribute to more severe tinnitus symptoms. Other things, like high blood pressure and stress can also be a contributing factor. Call us for an appointment if these suggestions aren’t helping or if you’re feeling dizzy when your tinnitus symptoms are present.


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.

Questions? Talk To Us.