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Expat Health Insurance News: Insomnia 'increases severity of tinnitus'

People with tinnitus are at an elevated risk of suffering from insomnia, which increases their likelihood of suffering from medical problems that could require expatriate health insurance.

A study performed in Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital found a significant relationship between the severity of tinnitus and difficulties falling asleep.

Insomniacs with tinnitus also reported elevated levels of emotional distress from the noises they hear as a result of the condition.

Some of the sounds related to the ailment include a chronic buzzing, hissing, ringing or clicking, which appears to come from the ears or head.

While the exact physiological reasons people hear these noises are unknown, a number of conditions have been linked to tinnitus.

These include sinus infections, a build-up of wax in the ear, exposure to loud sounds, trauma to the neck or head, as well as a range of illnesses, such as thoracic outlet syndrome, Lyme disease, hyper- or hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia.

Individuals with insomnia are also at a higher risk of suffering from certain physical and mental health problems, including cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, obesity, musculoskeletal issues, diabetes, high blood pressure and psychiatric disturbances.

Study co-author Dr Kathleen Yaremchuk, chair at the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford, said: "Tinnitus involves cognitive, emotional, and psycho-physiological processes, which can result in an increase in a patient's distress,"

"Sleep complaints, including insomnia, in these patients may result in a decrease in their tolerance to tinnitus," she added.

Furthermore, the study indicates treating the sleep disorders of people with tinnitus could reduce the severity of the symptoms they suffer from.

Dr Yaremchuck noted tinnitus is associated with a number of other problems, including annoyance, depression, anxiety and emotional distress, with difficulty going to sleep a particularly commonplace complaint.

"Treating patients with tinnitus is challenging," she noted.

The investigation will be presented to San Diego's Combined Otolaryngological Spring Meetings in the near future.

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