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Prog Brain Res. 2007;166:227-33.

Tinnitus and insomnia.

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Sleep Disorders and Research Center, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr 84, 93053, Regensburg, Germany.


Sleep problems are common in individuals with tinnitus but it is not known if they can be seen as a reaction to the acoustic percept of tinnitus disturbing normal sleep, or if there are common causes. Sleep problems further impair the quality of life of individuals with tinnitus and the impairment correlates with the severity of the tinnitus. However the nature of the relationship between tinnitus and disturbed sleep in individuals with tinnitus is not clearly understood. Preliminary studies suggest that chronically disturbed sleep (insomnia) in individuals with tinnitus that is not caused by organic disorders exists unrelated to the tinnitus. We studied the relationship between tinnitus and insomnia in a retrospective sleep study of 13 hospitalized patients with insomnia and tinnitus. Patients with sleep apnea, periodic leg movements, or a severe psychiatric disorder were excluded. We collected physiologic sleep measures (EEG, EOG, EMG, and respiration) and subjective sleep information from a morning protocol during two nights. We also obtained information about performance in sustained attention tasks and the scores of self-rated depression scale and self-rated daytime-tiredness scale. Thirteen age- and sex-matched inpatients with primary insomnia who did not have tinnitus served as controls. There were no significant differences between the physiologic data obtained in patients with tinnitus and in the controls. Both groups had low sleep efficiency but the patients with both insomnia and tinnitus had longer subjective sleep latencies than insomnia patients without tinnitus (controls). No differences were found in sustained attention tasks, subjective daytime tiredness, and depression rating scores between the two groups. Similarities between the results from these two groups suggest that sleep specific psychotherapeutic methods, which are established for treating insomnia, should be further developed for the use in patients with insomnia and tinnitus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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