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How It Started and How It's Going: Tinnitus and Insomnia

Not all that long ago, I was sharing my experience with insomnia with a friend. I probably wouldn't have had to say very much; it was written all over my face. The dark, puffy circles under my eyes told most of the story.

After several years of fitful nights and regular battles with falling asleep, I admitted that I was suffering from insomnia. My triggers were varied, but one thing, in particular, seemed to be the biggest cause of my nightly battle – tinnitus.

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Managing tinnitus

In 2020, just a few weeks shy of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was diagnosed as being in the early stages of Meniere's disease. This disorder has many unpleasant aspects, but tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is one of the more frustrating ones.

My sleepless nights were a little more than sporadic before tinnitus appeared, but once the ringing, buzzing, and humming in my left ear set in - insomnia became as regular a part of my life as breathing. Twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week I faced sound – I knew no peace. Sleep was virtually impossible.

Trying to regain control

Through trial and error and appointments with various specialists from ENTs and physical therapists to an acupuncturist, I was able to better understand my issues, but there was no stopping the sound. I would have to find a way to live with it.

Trying desperately to tune out the noise in my head became my number one focus. If I couldn't sleep, I couldn't be productive at work, and I became, what felt like, of no use to my children.

Finding solutions that work for me

Now, more than 4 years later, I have come to terms with the fact that I will never again know silence, and because of that, sleep will always be a challenge for me.

I have, however, been able to combat the worst of the noise. Using a noisemaker and apps that mimic the white noise and the rhythmic rotation of a fan's blades helps to mask the sound.

In addition, I have added a supplement, CoQ10, to my daily routine recommended by my acupuncturist. I was struggling with feeling my heartbeat in my ear – an incredibly unsettling sensation – and it grew much worse at night. My acupuncturist suggested this supplement as it is intended to improve circulation.

Making progress with tinnitus and insomnia

I can't say for certain what has made the biggest difference in my ability to sleep, but I can say that I am able to fall asleep much more readily than I was 4 years ago.

Though I may not sleep through the night, the noise in my head has dulled itself to a low roar. Maybe I have acclimated to it, or maybe I have actually shown improvement. I will take it either way. It feels really good not to dread bedtime.

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