Monday, September 12, 2011

Cannot Sleep Ears Popping and Ringing

Cannot sleep because your ears are popping and ringing? This could be a sign of tinnitus. WebMD.com defines tinnitus as a noise or ringing in the ears that is a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder. Tinnitus results in annoying sounds of hearing sounds including; ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, whistling and hissing when no external sounds are present. Also called phantom noises they vary in pitch and you may hear it in one or both ears. Tinnitus isn’t a sign of something serious, although, it may worsen with age and can be treated by identifying the underlying medical problem.

There are two kinds of tinnitus; subjective tinnitus are noises that only you can hear. This is the most common type of tinnitus. It can be caused by ear problems in your outer, middle or inner ear. It also can be caused by problems with the hearing (auditory) nerves or the part of your brain that interprets nerve signals as sound and objective tinnitus are sounds your doctor can hear when they do an examination. This rare type of tinnitus may be caused by a blood vessel problem, an inner ear bone condition or muscle contractions.




 


Conditions that cause tinnitus may be aged related which usually starts to happen between the ages of 55 and 65 when hearing loss or prebycusis begins. If you are subject to long-term loud noises day after day from heavy equipment, firearms, drills, chainsaws, etc you can cause permanent noise-related hearing loss. Short-term exposure from portable music devices or going to a loud concert usually goes away over time. Earwax that protects your ear canal can accumulate and become too hard causing hearing loss or irritation of the eardrum that can lead to tinnitus. Ear bone changes in your middle ears may affect your hearing. Stiffening of the ear bone or otosclerois causes abnormal bone growth and is usually hereditary.

Medical conditions and disorders that are less common to cause tinnitus are; Meniere’s disease that creates abnormal inner ear fluid pressure, stress and depression, TMJ disorders, head or neck injuries can affect inner ear hearing nerves or brain function linked to hearing and acoustic neuroma a benign tumor that develops on the cranial nerve that runs from your brain to your inner ear and controls balance and hearing. This is also known as vestibular schwannoma and usually causes tinnitus only in one ear. If you have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) loud noises are sensitive to you and it can cause tinnitus or aggravate it.

More about PTSD see: Sleepless in America Remembering 9/11

In rare cases tinnitus is caused by a blood vessel disorder. This type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus and can be caused by; neck and head tumors that press on blood vessels that go into the ear and atherosclerosis which is a buildup of cholesterol and other deposits causing major blood vessels close to the inner ear to lose some elasticity or the inability to flex or expand with each heartbeat. This causes blood flow to become more forceful and sometimes more turbulent, making it easier for your ear to detect the beats. You can generally hear this type of tinnitus in both ears. High blood pressure, turbulent blood flow from narrowing or kinking in the neck carotid artery or jugular vein and malformation of capillaries also called arteriovenous malformation can also bring about tinnitus. If you have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) loud noises are sensitive to you and it can trigger tinnitus or aggravate it.

There are a number of medications that can cause or worsen tinnitus and usually these unwanted noises disappear when you stop taking them. Some medications include; antibiotics, cancer medications, diuretics, quinine medications, chloroquine, and even aspirin if taken in high doses of 12 or more a day.

Tinnitus can affect your everyday life causing more stress, irritability, memory problems, lack of focus and depression, but it also affects your ability to sleep. A ScienceDaily.com article reported new findings, published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that suggests several new approaches to treatment, including retraining the brain, and new avenues for developing drugs to suppress the ringing in the ear. Experiments in the past few years have shown that the ringing doesn't originate in the inner ear, though, but rather in regions of the brain -- including the auditory cortex -- that receives input from the ear. Results show that neurons that have lost sensory input from the ear become more excitable and fire spontaneously, primarily because these nerves have "homeostatic" mechanisms to keep their overall firing rate constant no matter what resulting in tinnitus. Those with tinnitus caused by hearing loss when treated so their brain cells get new input should reduce this spontaneous firing.

Scientists are searching for existing medicines or developing new drugs that inhibit the spontaneous firing. Experiments are under way showing that tinnitus is correlated with lower levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. There are two drugs that increase levels of GABA that have proven to eliminate tinnitus in rats, but they have serious side effects and cannot be consumed by humans.

Well until this “magic GABA pill” is developed German research has shown that behavioral training with music that is custom-tailored to the person with tinnitus may reverse faulty spontaneous firing. The researchers allowed patients to choose their favorite music, which was then “notched” — a one-octave frequency band, centered on the frequency of the ringing experienced by the subject, was filtered out. The subjects listened to the music on average about 12 hours a week.

After a year, the researchers report in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, those who listened to this custom-notched music reported a significant improvement in their tinnitus, as the ringing was not as loud compared with others who listened to music that was notched at frequencies not corresponding to their ringing frequency.

The researchers suggest that two things might be happening in the auditory cortex to bring about the improvement. The neurons in the cortex related to the ringing frequency are presumably not being stimulated, because those frequencies are absent from the music. At the same time, nearby neurons may have been actively suppressing the tinnitus-related neurons, through a process known as lateral inhibition.

Relief by playing background music to mask the tinnitus-so-called "white noise or water sounds has been used for years. Masking is the use of other sounds to "drown out" or "mask" the annoying noises associated with tinnitus. Fortunately, a simple test is available to obtain a preliminary idea of the value of masking for a particular individual.

The faucet test is when the individual stands near a sink and turns on the water full force. Many people with tinnitus do not hear the ringing in their ears when water is running. If the sound of the water running masks their tinnitus, it is possible that masking may relieve it enough for them to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. The person needs to record the sound of the water and play it when they want relief. If your tinnitus is a result of hearing loss and most of your noises are within a high-pitched tone. In order to mask your tinnitus it is necessary to use a high-pitched making noise.

Since tinnitus produces unpleasant annoying sounds masking sounds are typically soothing and help people sleep. Wearable masking units can be fitted as an in-the-ear unit. This type of unit makes it more comfortable while sleeping.

Other treatments that can help tinnitus sufferers get through their daily lives and sleep better at night are; relaxation methods, meditation, yoga, biofeedback training, hypnosis, acupuncture and/or electrical suppression techniques. Electrical suppression techniques is a procedure using electrical current that is delivered to the middle ear via special electrodes. More research is being done to determine the safety and effectiveness of this procedure for the treatment of tinnitus.

The content provided in Cannot Sleep Ears Popping and Ringing is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.


 

Update for Tinnitus Treatment

As people are exposed to loud noises every day, findings have shown that this exposure causes magnesium to be expelled from the body. Supplementing your diet with a magnesium supplement can reduce noise induced ear damage and reduce the likelihood to trigger tinnitus. Magnesium protects the nerves in the inner ear as a powerful glutamate inhibitor. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that is produced by sound waves on the hair cells of the inner ear. Unregulated production of glutamate at sound frequencies for which there is no external stimulation could be the cause of tinnitus. Free radicals are produced when there is a decrease blood supply that causes stress to nerve tissue of the inner ear. The accumulation of free radicals damages the inner ear and its tissues. This damage then causes a release and accumulation of glutamate which in high concentration is extremely destructive to the body. Glutamate inhibitors have a protective effect on the inner ear and are being tested for a treatment of tinnitus.

The protective effect of magnesium in preventing noise induced hearing loss has been considered to decrease intense noise exposure in the inner ear. Scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School suggest taking magnesium with vitamins A, C and E, known antioxidants, can reduce hearing loss and sensory cell death.

 
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