Why is the Buzzing in my Ears Worse at Night?

Man in bed at night suffering insomnia from severe tinnitus and ringing in the ear.

Tinnitus often gets worse at night for the majority of the millions of individuals in the US that experience it. But what’s the reason for this? The ringing is a phantom noise caused by some medical condition like hearing loss, it’s not an outside sound. But none of that information can give a reason why this ringing becomes louder during the night.

The real reason is pretty simple. But first, we have to learn a little more about this all-too-common disorder.

Tinnitus, what is it?

To say tinnitus is not a real sound just compounds the confusion, but, for most people, that is the case. It’s a noise no one else can hear. It sounds like air-raid sirens are going off in your ears but the person sleeping right beside you can’t hear it at all.

Tinnitus is a sign that something is wrong, not a condition on its own. Substantial hearing loss is normally the root of this condition. Tinnitus is often the first sign that hearing loss is Taking hold. Hearing loss is often gradual, so they don’t notice it until that ringing or buzzing starts. Your hearing is changing if you begin to hear these noises, and they’re alerting you of those changes.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is one of medical science’s greatest mysteries and doctors don’t have a strong comprehension of why it happens. It might be a symptom of inner ear damage or numerous other possible medical conditions. There are very small hair cells inside of your ears that vibrate in response to sound. Tinnitus can indicate there is damage to those hair cells, enough to keep them from transmitting electrical signals to the brain. Your brain converts these electrical signals into identifiable sounds.

The absence of sound is the base of the current hypothesis. The brain remains on the alert to get these messages, so when they don’t come, it fills in that space with the phantom noise of tinnitus. It gets perplexed by the lack of feedback from the ear and tries to compensate for it.

When it comes to tinnitus, that would explain some things. For starters, why it’s a symptom of so many different conditions that impact the ear: minor infections, concussions, and age-related hearing loss. It also tells you something about why the ringing gets worse at night for some individuals.

Why are tinnitus sounds louder at night?

Unless you are significantly deaf, your ear receives some sounds during the day whether you know it or not. It will faintly pick up sounds coming from a different room or around the corner. But during the night, when you’re trying to sleep, it gets really quiet.

All of a sudden, the brain is thrown into confusion as it searches for sound to process. It only knows one response when faced with total silence – generate noise even if it isn’t real. Sensory deprivation has been shown to cause hallucinations as the brain tries to insert information, including auditory input, into a place where there isn’t any.

In other words, your tinnitus might get louder at night because it’s too quiet. Creating sound may be the solution for those who can’t sleep because of that aggravating ringing in the ear.

How to produce noise at night

A fan running is frequently enough to decrease tinnitus symptoms for many people. The volume of the ringing is lowered just by the sound of the fan motor.

But, there are also devices made to help individuals with tinnitus get to sleep. Environmental sounds, like ocean waves or rain, are produced by these “white noise machines”. The soft sound calms the tinnitus but isn’t disruptive enough to keep you awake like leaving the TV on might do. Alternatively, you could go with an app that plays calming sounds from your smartphone.

What else can worsen tinnitus symptoms?

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


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.