Sleep Strategies for Tinnitus Related Sleep Problems

Discussion in 'Support' started by Jim, Mar 6, 2011.

tinnitus forum
    1. Jim
      Happy

      Jim Member Benefactor

      Location:
      San Francisco
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      Let me start by saying that getting good quality sleep was the single most important factor for me in getting the tinnitus under control. Without good sleep the tinnitus just wears you down more and more. I have two elements that have really worked well for me. I know everyone is different so this may not apply to all.

      I have always been hesitant to use any medication unless absolutely necessary and in the case of tinnitus it became a necessity quickly. I started using ambient but it would not get me all the way through the night and would leave me with a hangover. Same thing with Benedril. Had some success with Xanax and Temazepam. I'm back to about 2mg of ambien now.

      The other half of the equation is music and masking. I have the Neuromonics device and tried it at night but the headphones supplied would not stay on and the music volume is not consistent enough. The folks at Neuromonics suggest that you use their device to fall asleep and then turn it off and continue to sleep through the night unassisted. No way will this work for me! So that did not help me at night.

      I did some internet research and found a blog by a guy who does a lot of business travel. He had developed some techniques for maximizing his sleep while traveling on commercial airlines. As it turns out I travel fairly frequently as well. By the way I found it necessary to protect my ears from the high noise levels on commercial jets anyway. (more on this later as it turns out I have hyperacusis as well) So this is what I took away from his blog.

      First, get earphones that will stay in your ears and that are not too bulky. Second, get earphones that provide good noise isolation. You don’t want to be awakened by outside noise once you do finally get to sleep. Third, play music that is very familiar to you. This is not the time to try to find some new music to add to your library. You don’t really want to be challenging your brain with anything new. I took these basic principles and added an important element. I have an iPhone/iPod so I don’t know if this can be done on other devices but maybe you can come up with a similar effect. I have an iPhone app called “Ambiance” There is a free version and I think the full version costs $1. It allows you to down load the masking sounds that cover your tinnitus the most effectively for you. I personally like the sound of “rain”. These are actual real recordings of natural sounds that are looped. The loops are well done so you don’t notice the “start over”. They have beach waves, thunder, fan, jungle sounds, cat purring, you name it they have it. All free of cost. They do have white noise but I find it is monotone, harsh and annoying to me. I have about 10 different rain sounds. You can play 1 or more sounds that cycle through all night long with a nice fade in and out between sounds or just pick the one that you like best. The coolest thing about the app is you can play your music simultaneously over the masking sound for a predetermined length of time and then the music fades out and leaves you with your masking sound for the rest of the night. Brilliant! There are other similar apps but this is the best one for me. Some other apps like "White Noise" offer balance control, but no music over the sound feature.

      Headphones: I did quit a bit of research on headphones/ earphones. I found a company called Etymotics Research. They make professional musician quality stuff including earplugs, onstage monitors, etc. They also have some interesting products for the hearing impaired. I highly recommend their earplugs for hearing protection. They also specialize in “on stage performance” in-ear monitor earphones. I ended up getting the HF2’s because they go well with the iPhone. They are expensive at $179 but worth every penny in my opinion. They have a less expensive pair without the microphone. They stay in the ear and I can sleep all night with them. The added benefit is they produce incredible hi fidelity sound that will deliver music like you have never heard before. They quite simply make the standard apple phones sound pretty bad by comparison. This is starting to sound like a commercial but I am not working for anyone. I am retired and have no interest in ever being employed again.

      It’s not ideal to have to get wired up every night before bed but it beats lying awake. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m ever going to be able to go camping again with all the electronics that I depend on now. One step at a time I guess.

      I think Yogi Berra’s famous quote about baseball is directly applicable to tinnitus,
      "Ninety percent of the game is half mental”

      Cheers,
      Jim.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    2. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Director Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing
      Thanks for the detailed post Jim,

      I myself have a pair of Westone UM2s, they are also very pricey, about $250-280 depending on where you buy them, but oh my, the sound quality is awesome! You don't really need to crank up the volume (which is advisable to avoid anyway, had you tinnitus or not) and they sound great.

      I actually used to use normal Apple buds before getting my UM2s, and... it's like comparing apples to oranges. They really are from different worlds.

      Good IEMs tend to be pricey but in my opinion they are more than worth the price. There are cheaper ones available, but often they are not of the same quality than the more expensive ones. But even the cheaper IEMs probably beat default Apple buds any day.

      I will need to check out the Ambiance app. Hadn't heard of that one before.

      One problem with sleeping IEMs in my ears is the cord. I move a lot while asleep and am known for changing positions, hands move etc. More than once I've accidentally somehow grabbed the cord and forced the IEM out of my ear. That doesn't hurt per se, but it's not good for the longevity of the IEMs, I don't think they like that and in the worst case scenario they might even break.

      I wish there were wireless IEMs... but from what I understand, those would be very hard to do considering the monitors are usually small, they would need some kind of a battery and wireless transmitter. And at least usually wireless' sound quality isn't as good as wired.


      Thanks again for your post, I imagine this one will help lots of people :)
       
    3. chewly

      chewly Guest

    4. Jim
      Happy

      Jim Member Benefactor

      Location:
      San Francisco
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      Yep I hear ya, I broke my Ety's by pulling on the wire while sleeping. I called customer service and they sent me a brand new pair. smile.png
       
    5. rogerg

      rogerg Member

      http://mdlabs.se/sleepcycle/

      "The Sleep Cycle alarm clock is a bio-alarm clock that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you when you are in the lightest sleep phase.

      Waking up in the lightest sleep phase feels like waking without an alarm clock - it is a natural way to wake up where you feel rested and relaxed."


      http://wakemate.com/

      WakeMate is over 50 times more expensive but includes a wristband..
      These might prove useful to track own sleep habits and wake up "in the lightest sleep phase"
       
    6. Scarred

      Scarred Member

      I have used the Sleep Cycle one and found my ipod touch on the floor several times. the device needs to be placed near your pillow and it's not convenient.
       
    7. Hey Jim, what's that travel blog you mentioned?

      As for sleeping with in-ear monitors, I'd suggest the Mee Electronics M9. They are available for well under $20 on Amazon and sound surprisingly good, especially after you break them in. I think of them almost as disposables but they sound comparable to some much more expensive sets and better than one $100 set I have.
       
    8. Jim
      Happy

      Jim Member Benefactor

      Location:
      San Francisco
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      Hey Mack, Sorry I can't recall. I was googling around for sleep strategies and I ran across this guy who did a lot of business travel. I took his methods and applied them to my chronic insomnia. Works pretty well for me.
       
    9. mike

      mike Member

      Location:
      Franklin ohio
      Tinnitus Since:
      1 1/2 months
      I am posting this because I would like to get some veiws on how people sleep at night.Things they try or medications.I am taking xanax at night 1.0 to 1.5. some nights I sleep. A lot of nights I do not sleep at all. Once I wake up in the morning theres no going back to sleep.I have had this for over two months and it is getting really hard.Before I could go to sleep real easy . Not Now.
       
    10. Steph001

      Steph001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2007
      Some nights listening to soft music on my iPod works (about 2/3 nights a week) I love these nights and without them I don't think I'd be sitting here today...the other 4 nights the music just bugs me and I can hear the T loudly and I just get fidgety. I don't take anything, my doc didn't give me anything (I guess because I'm only 17) usually I end up sleeping after school when I'm watching sport on tv...don't know why I just do but then I don't have time for hmk and revision (if I have the motivation to do any) basically T is causing me to be almost 'nocturnal' which is ruining my life :(
       
    11. Steph001

      Steph001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2007
      Thank you very much! I've got the app and am actually looking forward to going to sleep (despite waking up 30 mins ago!) crossed fingers hoping it works :)
       
    12. mike

      mike Member

      Location:
      Franklin ohio
      Tinnitus Since:
      1 1/2 months
      Does anybody take Ambien and if so has does it affect you.Good or bad
       
    13. John Bacon

      John Bacon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2012
      I have taken Ambien (Zolpidem) for over a year an a half. I don't think it caused my Tinnitus but I am not sure.
      My doc, two ENT's and one audiologist tell me that it is not ototoxic but I find it listed on the net as such.
      I need to take it. It knocks down the T at night because it is a GABA agonoist. I don't really know what to tell you.
      I stuggle evernight with the decision. If I had it to do over I believe the safe thing is to not take it.
       
    14. SymphonSilencio

      SymphonSilencio Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2008
      I have been prescribed ambien in the past because I went through a real rough patch with sleep for a couple months. I stood by my decision not to take it as the side effects are not worth it. Even if ambien works for you there isnt ONE medication actually associated with sleep for long periods of use. All things for sleep are meant to be used for short durations intermittently. Besides our bodies acclimate to anything we consume whether its alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, or prescription drugs. The effect will lessen over time.

      If you want something you can take in more frequent intervals I suggest trying to get a prescriptions of remeron (mirtazapine) its classes as a antidepressant but has mild side effects and causes sedation (which I know you want if your asking about ambien). Funny thing about remeron from my experience is that the less of it you use the more sedative it is. Even with all the good qualities mentioned the effect still lessens as you use it more. My suggestion if your willing to get it and your doctor goes along with it is to use it more sparingly doing like 1 day on day off or better yet 1 day on 2 days off.

      There are other relaxation/ sleeping remedies out there like melatonin, HTP, passion flower, valerian root, green tea, lavender extract and what not. Create a system for yourself and switch them in out over the course of the week. I cant say its absolutely fool proof but it works for me quite splendidly.

      Remember to try and operate from a positive emotional state even though I know the T is like a boulder on your shoulders when it comes to your emotional state. Your body is more amazing than you think but you have to work with it not against it when it comes to sleep.

      If you need anything else let me know
       
    15. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      I bought a number of 'pillow speakers' early on and they were all rubbish.

      New one was delivered this morning, a Relaxso Stereo Asleep Pillow Speaker, and it's excellent!

      Thought I would post the details in case others are having trouble finding one that actually does what it's supposed to without being uncomfortable. I've also purchased an extension lead so that the MP3 player can be a distance away.

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005H0CSIU/?tag=tinntalk-21
       
    16. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      I too had a problem finding a good pillow speaker so I am glad you found one Click! What I did after I gave up trying to find one was to just put the relax melodies App on my iPad on and put that right under my pillow. Worked great and because the iPad has a 10 hour battery, never had to worry about it dying on me.
       
    17. Peg

      Peg Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      7 months ago
      Wouldnt have thought of that one. Thats a good idea. Beats wearing headphones. Got any special sites that are good. I have some. But always looking
       
    18. carlover
      English

      carlover Member Benefactor

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      1986
      Hi can I ask (guess it is) being that you like this product that the volume can get pretty high?

      One I bought you could hardly hear it.

      All the best ,Pete
       
    19. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      If you mean the pillow speaker Peg - I bought mine from Amazon... if you mean Erik's iPad... an Apple store I expect. Not sure I'd want to sleep on an iPad Erik - you obviously don't move much during sleep... mine would be on the floor half way through the night!

      Hi Pete - yes, the volume's brilliant and the fact that it's encased in material means that it grips a little to the pillow so the 2 small speakers stay where they're supposed to. The other pillow speakers I had were made of plastic and slid around - their volume was also rubbish.
       
    20. carlover
      English

      carlover Member Benefactor

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      1986
      Hiya Click thats good Im going to order it ,.

      You all maybe interested in this.I have been chopping and changing my Sound enrichment (T drives me bonkers in bed) I have not been happy with any of it.

      I was using the Sound Therapy int (australia )tapes t0 to go to sleep but after using for a year during the day as well Igave up.

      I tried White noise and Pink noise but both in the end aggravated me.

      Anyway the audiologist im seeing at the Acoustic CR neuromodulation clinic ,gave me a Purple noise cd and said he was sure it wouldhelp and he was right ,very comfortable blends in and knocks out the T and yep I can reccomend.

      http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/products/14
       
    21. click
      Busy

      click Member Benefactor

      Location:
      West Cornwall, England, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/04/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure
      Thanks Pete - I think the rain sounds are best for me but I've ordered one of the purple noise cds now.
      I didn't like the white noise or pink noise ones - they're still on the shelves with all the other T paraphernalia - I'm collecting almost everything so I'm hopefully ready for anything the T may throw at me :arghh:
      Jane
       
    22. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      I got that Purple Noise cd from the Tinnitus Clinic too and it suits me too. Better than White Noise.
       
    23. Anthony

      Anthony Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/15/12
      My ears have been ringing for a little more than a week now. I know thats a short time but it is destirbing my sleep and i am worried it will not go away. I have in mind some possible culprits. I took ibuprofin for months for back pain. I take paxil very irregularly like an idot and i herd that tinnitus can be a withdrawl side effect. Also i have major chiropractic work in the weeks before my ears started ringing. My hand arms and upper body quiver/shake some times as well. the sound is aplified when i lay my ears/head on my pillow but from what i can tell i only have ringging in my right ear. Cant figure out why it gets louder when i lay my left ear on the pillow. Over the week it seems to be getting worse. Im having trubble coping with this. I had an aditory test and my hearing is fine. I am really confused. Any insight would be great. Thanks
       
    24. Petloy
      Happy

      Petloy Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      A week is still early to think that it will not go away, Since your hearing test is fine it is a good sign your T might still go away on it's own, talk to your doctor regarding these medications, Ibuprofen may cause ringing but it often is reversible when you stopped taking them. Have a fan when sleeping or download some ambient noise like ocean waves or rain falling to help you sleep. Did you specifically mentioned this to your doctor that your ringing is unilateral (one ear only)? Keep calm, anxiety and stress will only make it seem louder. Keep us posted.

      Peter
       
    25. mike

      mike Member

      Location:
      Franklin ohio
      Tinnitus Since:
      1 1/2 months
      What is there about going to sleep with tinnitus and waking up the next morning and it is gone or you can barely here it. That last for 2 to 3 days and Tinnitus is gone or you can barely here it. Then after the 2 or 3 day you go to sleep and wake up and there it is again roaring for another 4 or 5 days. What a cycle. Anybody have this happen to them and what are your thoughts about this.
       
    26. Louise

      Louise Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Yorkshire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      29/06/2012
      I dont, mine is just there full on, drilling away 24/7, driving me insane. I got mine from noise damage, dont know if that's why it doesnt fluctuate.
       
    27. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Mine fluctuates and has since the beginning. I used to get 2-3 days low noise and rest medium to high but last couple of weeks I now get 4-5 days low and 2 day high so that's good change. Either way I still sleep fine for the most part and usually get 6 hours a night.
       
    28. Fish
      Balanced

      Fish Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poland
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2012
      My T was very low in volume for 2 days now. Last night I woke up from an intense, vivid dream at 4 AM and there was very loud, piercing noise in my right ear. I took a glass of water, did my best to ignore the noise and went to sleep again around 30 minutes later. I woke up again at 9:00 in the morning and it was low again.

      I do not believe anything happens at random in the human body, but I am yet to find the reason why the t fluctuates.
       
    29. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Fish -- My T seems to get better after sleep, too. It seems that sleep may calm the central nervous system, which may explain why it gets calmer and lower.
       
    30. Steph001

      Steph001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2007
      So, it's 04:45 am where I am and I have been in bed since 11 ish and cannot sleep. My tinnitus is probably at one of its worst stages ever and I have music on quietly but I still cannot sleep. Has anyone got any good tips for sleeping when this scenario occurs?
      I have tried different ambiance things to try and mask it or to help habituate to it with no luck. I saw a doctor, had an MRI got told there was nothing wrong. Went to an ear specialist who said yes I had tinnitus, luckily no hearing loss. But that was the end of the road. No further help was given, no other solution offered to me :/

      Help!!
       

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