A case of Tinnitus and Sleep

Tinnitus is the cruelest torture you could come up with.

Could you help?

John K. St. Louis

Dear John,

I agree with you that tinnitus can be devastating due to its interference with sleep.

Why tinnitus increases in sleep is not completely understood. Partially, it is related to a decrease in the intensity of outside stimuli; partially, it is secondary to increased blood pressure in sleep.

Another theory is that tinnitus produces “self-noise” due to sclerotic changes inside the nerve. Medication, calming the brain is usually of some help, as well as white noise.

If ENT doctors could not help you for some reason, you could try acupuncture or sleeping pills. On the positive note, there are new developments in treatment of tinnitus, like electrical stimulation. Do not get discouraged. Continue to search and you will find right treatment. You did not state if you were under medical care and, living in St. Louis, you should have no problem in finding good physicians at either of the University Hospitals. A word of caution, however, this is probably best treated in the hands of a specialist.