Why is the Buzzing in my Ears Louder at Night?

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 experience it. But what’s the reason for this? The ringing or buzzing in one or both ears is not an actual noise but a side-effect of a medical issue like hearing loss, either permanent or temporary. But none of that information can give a reason why this ringing gets louder during the night.

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

Tinnitus, what is it?

For most people, tinnitus isn’t an actual sound, but this fact just adds to the confusion. The person with tinnitus can hear the sound but no one else can. Your partner sleeping next to you in bed can’t hear it although it sounds like a maelstrom to you.

Tinnitus alone is not a disease or disorder, but a sign that something else is happening. Substantial hearing loss is usually the root of this condition. Tinnitus is often the first sign that hearing loss is Taking hold. People who have hearing loss often don’t notice their condition until the tinnitus symptoms begin because it develops so slowly. Your hearing is changing if you start to hear these sounds, and they’re alerting you of those changes.

What causes tinnitus?

Presently medical scientists and doctors are still uncertain of exactly what triggers tinnitus. It might be a symptom of a number of medical issues including inner ear damage. There are tiny hair cells inside of your ears that vibrate in response to sound. Tinnitus can indicate there’s damage to those hair cells, enough to keep them from delivering electrical signals to the brain. These electrical messages are how the brain converts sound into something it can clearly interpret like a car horn or someone speaking.

The current theory pertaining to tinnitus has to do with the absence of sound. The brain stays on the alert to get these messages, so when they don’t come, it fills in that space with the phantom sound of tinnitus. It gets confused by the lack of input from the ear and attempts to compensate for it.

That would clarify some things when it comes to tinnitus. Why it can be a result of so many medical conditions, such as age-related hearing loss, high blood pressure, and concussions, for starters. It also tells you something about why the ringing gets worse at night for some individuals.

Why does tinnitus get worse at night?

You might not even detect it, but your ear receives some sounds during the day. It hears very faintly the music or the TV playing somewhere close by. At the very least, you hear your own voice, but that all stops during the night when you try to go to sleep.

Abruptly, all the sound disappears and the level of confusion in the brain rises in response. It only knows one response when faced with complete silence – create noise even if it isn’t real. Hallucinations, such as phantom sounds, are frequently the outcome of sensory deprivation as the brain tries to create input where there isn’t any.

In other words, it’s too quiet at night so your tinnitus seems louder. Producing sound may be the solution for individuals who can’t sleep because of that irritating ringing in the ear.

Generating noise at night

A fan running is frequently enough to reduce tinnitus symptoms for many people. Just the sound of the motor is enough to decrease the ringing.

But you can also buy devices that are specifically made to lessen tinnitus sounds. Natural sounds, like ocean waves or rain, are generated by these “white noise machines”. If you were to leave a TV on, it might be disruptive, but white noise machines generate calming sounds that you can sleep through. Alternatively, you could try an app that plays soothing sounds from your smartphone.

Can anything else make tinnitus symptoms louder?

Lack of sound isn’t the only thing that can trigger an upsurge in your tinnitus. For example, if you’re drinking too much alcohol before you go to bed, that could contribute to tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus also tends to become severe if you’re stressed out and certain medical problems can lead to a flare-up, too, like high blood pressure. Call us for an appointment if these tips aren’t helping or if you’re feeling dizzy when your tinnitus symptoms are active.


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.

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