New Treatment for People with Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears) Promises Better Sleep

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Wearing glasses that block the blue light that causes melatonin suppression allows it to flow. Putting them on for a few hours before bed time allows melatonin (the sleep hormone) to be present at bed time. This allows people to fall asleep quickly despite the annoying ringing in their ears.

Many people with tinnitus have trouble sleeping because of the continuous noise. There has been some success in treating this condition with oral melatonin given in the early evening. A new treatment is being developed at John Carroll University based on the body?s ability to produce melatonin naturally.

It was discovered five years ago that it is the blue component in white light that prevents the pineal gland from producing melatonin. In the evening, when it normally would be producing the hormone, ordinary light prevents it from doing so. Wearing glasses that block blue light allow the flow of melatonin to begin. By bed time there is plenty of melatonin present in the blood. This allows the person to fall asleep quickly despite the ringing in the ears and sleep more soundly so the noise does not interfere. By using the glasses consistently, the duration of the melatonin flow is gradually increased. Several styles of glasses are available on the web site http://www.sleepglasses.com.

In the event this does not work, testing for melatonin by taking saliva samples may be in order. If the body is not producing melatonin in the first place, blocking blue light will have no effect. Sampling should be done during the late night or very early morning after having been in darkness for two hours or more. Consulting a sleep specialist is advised. Taking oral melatonin should be done with the guidance of a doctor. Taking melatonin by mouth at the wrong time of day or in too large an amount can disrupt the body?s ability to produce it.

Many people without tinnitus are using blue blocking glasses to help them fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. Because the glasses create darkness as far as the pineal gland is concerned, they are also being used by people to reduce the effects of jet lag. They make it possible to advance or retard the circadian clock before departure to accomplish this. Combining wearing the glasses with exposure of the eyes to light make it possible to reset the circadian clock.

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Richard Hansler
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