Bad Tinnitus Spike, Can't Sleep

Discussion in 'Support' started by Tom Kirby, Dec 21, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. Tom Kirby

      Tom Kirby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2008
      Hi all,

      New to these forums. I have had tinnitus for over 5 years. When I first noticed it, it was pretty mild but I have the type of personality that's easily stressed so I was quite bothered by it initially. However, I eventually habituated within a couple of months and it hasn't bothered me much for the past few years.

      I am currently going through a bad spike. I usually don't hear my T much in the day as it is low enough to be covered by most everyday noises - traffic, bird sounds etc. But this past week, my T has gone up so much that I am hearing it over nearly everything. Even when riding on the bus, the engine noise isn't able to cover it completely. I still get relief when in the shower fortunately.

      I am finding it really tough to focus at work - my office is far too quiet. Masking only partially works. I tried playing white noise over headphones but still am unable to drown out my T completely (there is a high pitch component that I can still clearly hear over the noise), and the headphones get uncomfortable after a while.

      I have been unable to get much sleep the past few nights (maybe 4-5 hours max). My T seems to get really loud when I lie down and if I do manage to nod off I find myself waking up in a couple of hours and hearing my T screaming in my ears. I am currently writing this post at around 1.30 a.m. where I am after trying to sleep and failing. Was feeling very anxious, sleepy and somewhat depressed. Writing this has calmed me down somewhat and my T has gone down a bit to more tolerable levels. Afraid if I lie down it will go back up again though.

      I am wondering if I should go for therapy or medication. I have only taken drugs the first two weeks I got T - ENT prescribed Ambien and then Xanax. The Ambien didn't work well for me, could only sleep two hours max before it wore off. I only took the Xanax once and decided not to continue because I was worried about the side effects and addiction. Since my T was mild, I did not have to use drugs for the past few years and I would rather not start now. But I am worried if this spike continues, I have no choice.

      Anyway, thanks for reading. Any advice on how you dealt with your own spikes would be appreciated.
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    2. glynis-harbron
      Feminine

      glynis-harbron Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      A warm welcome to the forums Tom.
      I think the first thing for you would be getting you sleeping better so cope better during the day.
      I would download a app that plays natural sounds to help you sleep.
      The sound needs to be set below your tinnitus sound so your brain works hard to pick up the sound you have chosen and push your tinnitus to the background.
      This helps to sleep and cope better in the day.
      Best used free standing by your bed or through pillow speakers.
      You can buy sound units to use from the BTA shop and pillow speakers or off the internet ....lots of love glynis
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. Tom Kirby

      Tom Kirby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2008
      I have tried downloading some Android apps that play relaxation noises. However, I find they are not very good at masking my T as there is a very high pitched component to it. The sounds may mask most of the T but the high pitched, most annoying part get emphasized instead.
       
    4. glynis-harbron
      Feminine

      glynis-harbron Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      When masking tinnitus it has to be set below yout tinnitus sound and not to cover it up.
      Your brain will work hard to pick up the new sound you are playing and push your tinnitus to the back ground.
      As well as natural sounds their is purple ,pink,brown and white noise.
      hope you find a sound that helps you...lots of love glynis
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      I find cricket sounds to be the best man. I can easily hear my T through it but it does something to my high pitched tones, it feel like they somehow come down a bit in pitch.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Tom Kirby
      Hi Tom
      Welcome to the forum. I am sorry to hear that you’re going through a difficult time with your tinnitus at the moment. You have done well managing it for 5 years, which leads me to suspect you may not just be experiencing a tinnitus spike. If there isn’t an an underlining medical condition causing the increase in the tinnitus, I suspect exposure to loud sounds could be responsible, even though they may not seems loud to you.

      Do you listen to music through headphones or attend music venues where music is played loud? I usually advise anyone that has intrusive tinnitus, not to listen to music through headphones even at low volume. Although some people with tinnitus have no problem with them. Nor do I think it’s a good idea playing white noise through headphones in an attempt to mask tinnitus.

      By totally masking tinnitus, so it can’t be heard there is the risk of making matters worse. Playing white noise or any other sound into the ear there is the danger of irritating the cochlear, and it’s possible to make the tinnitus more intrusive. White noise generators are the correct devices that are designed for people with tinnitus and should be used under the guidance of a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist.

      The white noise should be set to just below the tinnitus and shouldn’t be masking or covering it up. If a person totally masks their tinnitus with white noise or any other sound the brain will never habituate to the tinnitus. As soon as the masking sound is removed the brain will immediately focus on the tinnitus and it could become more intrusive.

      When white noise generators are used as part of tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) The white noise is adjusted via a volume control to just below the tinnitus. These devices are worn for up to 10hrs a day. Over time the brain focuses on the white noise and the tinnitus is pushed further into the background making it less intrusive. This therapy can be very effective but it takes time and is not a quick fix. Typically 12 to 24 months. Tinnitus counselling is also needed by a Hearing Therapist /Audiologist.

      Look back at your lifestyle to see if you have introduced anything new. As mentioned above: attending venues, concerts where music is played loud or listening to music through headphones. You might have some hearing loss which can cause tinnitus to increase. Once you are examined at ENT hopefully they’ll find out the cause.
      Best of luck

      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
    7. Tom Kirby

      Tom Kirby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2008
      I just woke up with a huge spike in the volume of my T. It is much higher than my usual spikes after waking and it won't go down even after 15 minutes. I am hearing it over shower, masking everything etc. I am really panicking now, I don't understand what's causing this. Could it be earwax or something?
       
    8. glynis-harbron
      Feminine

      glynis-harbron Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      Hi Tom,
      It could be wax.
      Try to stay calm as stress will make it worse .
      Get your ears checked by your doctor for wax or infection even have BP checked too...love glynis
       
    9. Tom Kirby

      Tom Kirby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2008
      I am trying to but it is much worse than what I have ever experienced. And its 2.30 a.m. where I am now so I can't seek help for at least another 6-7 hours.
       
    10. Tom Kirby

      Tom Kirby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2008
      I have used cricket sounds too before and they usually work quite well for me. My current spike though, is so bad that it doesn't do the trick that it usually does.
       
    11. glynis-harbron
      Feminine

      glynis-harbron Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      It's 6.50 pm here....
      Can you put any soft music on just to focus on another sound without waking anyone up...lots of love glynis
       
    12. Tom Kirby

      Tom Kirby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2008
      I don't attend concerts or go to venues where there is loud music. I suspect I have high frequency hearing loss which initially triggered the T but I don't quite know how I got it - there is no one single event that I can pin point it too. I suspect it is because of my constant exposure to loud noise (while riding a tank) when I was in the Army for 2 years plus.

      I understand this and I don't seek to mask my T completely just make it more comfortable when I am at work etc. But my T is so high pitched that the masking sometimes does not help at all to lessen the intrusiveness.

      As far as I can tell, nothing has changed in my lifestyle. I was not sleeping well for a few nights before the spike so that may have triggered it.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    13. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Tom Kirby
      Tom, do you work around a computer all day? I'm just curious. How long have you been playing white noise into your ears at work?
      Michael
       
    14. Tom Kirby

      Tom Kirby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2008
      Yes, I do. I am a software engineer.
       
    15. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Tom Kirby
      Hi Tom, Please read the post below and if you have time read part 1 computers and tinnitus. Just keep an open mind.
      All the best
      Michael

      Computers and Tinnitus

      I recently wrote a post titled: Computers and Tinnitus Part 1. For those that would like to read it please click on the link.

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/computers-and-tinnitus.12059/.

      It is quite understandable that some people will have doubts as to whether tinnitus can be made worse by computer use. I hasten to add, not everyone with tinnitus will be affected by near-field computer use but I know I am. It is for this reason, I have placed my laptop in another room and use a wireless keyboard, mouse and monitor in another. I also have a desktop tower in another part of my home and this is placed in a cupboard, and use wireless mouse etc with that.

      Below is a message from a gentleman from another forum, which was written 4 years ago. He was having a lot of trouble with his tinnitus. I suggested that he move his computer into another room and use a wireless keyboard, mouse and monitor. He thought this a little drastic; so I suggested he reduce his computer use and see what happens. Approximately 3 weeks later he posted this message. He was in his 70s at the time. I have left his message intact so please excuse the typos.

      Around the same time, I found a website that listed scientific reports about the effects a computer can have on tinnitus. The website is no longer active but I have a copy of the report, please find it below.

      Big Improvement, by Paul Murphy.
      Thanks to a member on here! ..... but I can't remember who he is :(
      Someone on here said tinittus could be made worse by computer use ..... so I've reduced my time on computers and my tinnitus has almost gone.
      ..... so whoever you are ...... A big thankyou from me



      http://www.eurotinnitus.com/tinnitus.php?lang=en&id=9983.inc
      Scientific reports

      Tinnitus may be influenced by sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
      Most tinnitus comes from damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear.

      If you are older, advancing age is generally accompanied by a certain amount of hearing nerve impairment and tinnitus. If you are younger, exposure to loud noise is probably the leading cause of tinnitus, and often damages hearing as well. There are many causes for "subjective tinnitus," the noise only you can hear. Some causes are not serious (a small plug of wax in the ear canal might cause temporary tinnitus). Tinnitus can also be a symptom of stiffening of the middle ear bones (otosclerosis).

      Tinnitus may also be caused by allergy, high or low blood pressure (blood circulation problems), a tumor, diabetes, thyroid problems, injury to the head or neck, and a variety of other causes including medications such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, sedatives, antidepressants, and aspirin. If you take aspirin and your ears ring, talk to your doctor about dosage in relation to your size. One measure worth considering is avoidance of electromagnetic radiation (EMR)

      All electrical devices generate EMR, including computer terminals, cellular phones and microwave ovens, which can be a primary cause of hearing problems including Tinnitus. A leading Swedish scientist, Professor Mild who is on the European Commission panel of experts investigating mobile phones, confirms frequent reports of similar conditions, as does Dr Bruce Hocking, former Chief Medical Officer for Telstra, the Australian

      Telecommunications Company. In May 1997, Dr Hocking reported that people complained of developing a burning dull feeling on the side of the head where they have been using their mobile phone. It tends to come on several minutes after they made their call and may last for hours. Associated with this they may get feelings of nausea, disturbances in their vision and at times other neurological symptoms." People who spent long periods in front of computer screens often also report these symptoms.

      Today we are exposed to 100 million times more electromagnetic radiation than people 70 years ago. EMR fields have a disruptive effect on the natural energy levels of your body and cause changes in the function of cells, tissues and organs. The reason for this is that all our cells are sensitive to EMR. Some EMR microwaves operate at a frequency that could interfere with the human body\'s own electrical chemical functions and disrupt them in the same way a TV or radio signal can be interfered with.

      The result is that the body malfunctions and becomes out of balance. Without balance, we have health problems. All cell functions, including immune defense, are blocked; but above all - and this is the most important thing - the repair capacity of the cell, the ability to restore order to genetic damage is blocked. In other words, our own electromagnetic frequencies essential to our health, the repair, reproduction and replication of DNA can be altered by oscillations from outside sources of energy such as electromagnetic and electrical radiation.

      Exposure to low level electromagnetic fields has been associated with a reduction in the production of the hormone melatonin. A powerful antioxidant and part of the human immune system, melatonin is produced by the pineal gland (located in the brain) at night, explaining why it is so important to avoid exposure to EMF\'s while sleeping. At night the body cleans repairs and detoxifies itself. If it is exposed to electromagnetic stress at this time, in fact any stress, then our bodies produce water clustering which inhibits the cell\'s natural detoxifying and repairing actions and intra and extra cellular activity (e.g. electrolyte exchange).

      In 1994 cellphone interference with hearing aids was finally accepted as a fact in Australia, then in the UK and finally in the US in 1996. This is despite thousands of hearing aid wearers reporting over many years before then that GSM and US IS-54 cellphones were causing interference problems.

      Use of a proven EMR protection device such as a RayMaster is recommended as it restores the body to a balanced state within hours. This will help your body restore itself to good health and more effectively deal with problems like tinnitus.


      When I use my laptop in the conventional way something within it makes my tinnitus worse. Whether it’s EMF (electro magnetic field) that it emits or the noise from the internal hard drive spinning at 720rpm I’m not exactly sure. I have 2 laptops and they both make my tinnitus worse. Not immediately, but after about 30minutes my tinnitus starts to increase and the next day it gets louder. If I still use it by the third day my tinnitus is unbearable!

      I have a tablet computer but haven’t noticed it made my tinnitus worse. It could be that it uses a solid state internal hard drive and therefore doesn’t emit a noise which can irritate my ears. Each time that I use it It’s usually just for one hour.

      The above posts are just for information and left to the individual to make up their own mind. I won’t be answering any questions regarding scientific evidence or proof, because I have none.

      Michael
       
    16. Tom Kirby

      Tom Kirby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2008
      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for the info. But I don't think this applies to me as I have been working with computers for over 5 years since my T started and never noticed any problem.
       
    17. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Tom Kirby . I agree with you Tom. I think it's best you are seen at ENT ASAP if the tinnitus doesn't calm down.
      Best of luck
      Michael
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    18. Jptsr1

      Jptsr1 Member

      Location:
      New Jersey
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/1992
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, Guns, Q-Tips
      No tips, just wanted to say hang in there man. I'm on the downside of a spike now and at its peak even my go-to (crickets) didn't help much. Hope relief comes for you soon.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    19. Tom Kirby

      Tom Kirby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2008
      I am glad to report that the extreme spike came down after an hour or so. I am still stuck at the level of the original spike though but it is much more tolerable compared to that nightmare last night.

      I am thinking of making an appointment at a neuromonics clinic near my home. But from what I have read online, it is quite costly (at least 5k plus?). I am torn between waiting one more week to see if it gets better or taking action now to make my life more bearable. Still getting very little sleep.
       
    20. Sailboardman
      Frustrated

      Sailboardman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/21/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sensorineural hearing loss right ear.
      @Tom Kirby,

      I See you were in the Army and rode in tanks! Noisy suckers!

      I have a friend who was a Marine and flew helicopters for 10 years. He has T and hearing loss in both ears. It showed up 3 years after he left the service. He's also an engineer and gets disability payments from the military. He's 39 years of age now and manages fairly well with his condition.

      I agree with @Telis, cricket and cicada bugs mask my high frequency T fairly well. I use a Hometics, nature sound machine on my bed and it does help me sleep. I also have a few, running all the time around my house. I take 3mg of time released Melatonin an hour before bedtime, which works for me. Btw, I hear my T over most everything on the planet too! T sucks!

      Hope you get back to habituation and have a Merry Christmas!

      Sailboardman
       
    21. Rob 207
      Artistic

      Rob 207 Member

      Location:
      Wisconsin
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, noise.
      I also would prefer to stay away from sleep medications, but I have to say, xanax has saved my life. My T doesn't really bother me during the day, but it does cause mild panic attacks at night that make it difficult to unwind, relax, get to sleep or stay asleep. I take a small dose of xanax (0.5mg) before bed and it reduces the pounding heartbeat and tight chest and allows me to relax and sleep naturally. I'm really glad I have it; it's like a "panic button" that brings me back down to earth when I really need it.

      That being said, I would much rather not use it but until I habituate (which I am working hard to achieve), the xanax is a life saver. My sleep is not 100% back to normal, probably closer to 80-85%, but far better than the 3-4 hours per night I was regularly getting before I took the prescription. My problem is my body's panic reaction that is keeping me awake; I don't need help actually getting to sleep, I just need to help my brain turn off the panic switch which seems to be stuck in the ON position.

      I'm sure there are side effects, but for me in the short term the benefits of good sleep greatly outweigh the possible side effects. The dosage is small and I only take it at night when I need it so I'm not worried about addition. I skip the pill every 3rd or 4th night to see if I can sleep soundly without it, which so far I have not had much success with.

      Xanax is only one part of my overall strategy to habituate. It's just a tool that I plan to use for a limited time and eventually put down. In the meantime exercise, xanax, and nature sounds at my bedside have made my T much more manageable.

      There is no shame in using medication until you get your body's reaction to T under control. Proceed with caution and use common sense. Good luck.
       
    22. Gosia
      Balanced

      Gosia Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      earplugs/ hearing loss
      How are you today ?
       

Share This Page

Loading...
If you have ringing ears then you've come to the right place. We are a friendly tinnitus support board, dedicated to helping you discuss and understand what tinnitus treatments may work for you.