Since my pulsatile tinnitus woke me up that first morning almost two years ago, I've had trouble getting a good
night's sleep. The whoosh seems louder at night and in the early mornings when my surroundings are quieter (sound familiar?).
Especially during the first six months of the whooshing, I was desperate for sleeping aids -- maskers, sound machines,
etc. I tried a lot of them. I spent a lot of money. Some kind of worked. Most didn't work at all.
I found that many tools available to help “regular” tinnitus sufferers were useless to me as a pulsatile tinnitus
I tried a couple sound pillows -- no good for me because the sound produced by the speakers in the pillow
was never loud enough to drown the pulsing.
Those "relaxation" CDs? Forget it.
Listening to classical music and/or soft nature sounds is the last thing (sadly) that helps me sleep. Quiet sounds only
make me realize how loud my whooshing is.
I tried a sound machine -- it worked okay, except to drown the pulsing I had to turn the sound up so high that I thought it might actually cause
noise-induced tinnitus in my other ear! Or wake up my neighbors!
The best tools I could find were my iPod, some
soft ear buds, and a white noise track that I'd downloaded for free online. I'd wear the ear buds and set the white
noise track to play over and over again, all night.
This method posed problems though:
would get tangled as I tossed and turned.
Though I only whoosh on my right side, I had to wear both
ear buds since they were connected by a cord -- otherwise if I kept the left one out, it would be another cord to dodge when
I flipped over.
An ear bud isn't exactly comfortable when sleeping on it, especially since I'm a side
Having the ear bud inside my ear for a long period of time never seemed like a good idea
to me. The last thing I wanted was to make myself more likely to get noise-induced regular tinnitus, too.
my dear Whooshers, in case any of you have experienced similar issues, I recently discovered an innovative headphone product
that was created for people to wear at night:
I'll be the first to admit that pulsatile tinnitus has made me more cynical, but I thought this product
was worth a try. I contacted the nice folks at SleepPhones™, and they provided me a pair.
how they work:
Put the SleepPhones™ on like you're wearing a headband.
speakers over each ear.
Find the cord that comes out of the back of the headband and plug that into your
iPod or mp3 player device.
Play that white noise track! White noise --not music-- helps me because I need
to drown the noise, but you can use any music or sound that you want to.
The headband part is very soft.
It stayed in place quite well while I slept. Side sleeping was very comfortable. One night, I removed the speaker for
my left ear from the headband (a small flat square made of felt with a speaker sewn inside --it is very easy to remove), since
I just whoosh on my right. I'm still not sure which way I prefer... the consistent white noise on both sides helps me,
I think, but I like the option of removing one speaker when I want to. Best of all, the white noise sound was steady
and didn't change depending on my sleeping position; since the band fit around my head, the speakers stayed put, regardless
of which side I slept on or if I slept on my back or stomach. We're all different, of course, but what often wakes me
up is that change in position --the change of the whooshing when I move around. This product drowned the noise enough
that I didn't hear that shift anymore.
I've never endorsed a product on Whooshers.com. I hesitate to call
this a full-on endorsement for all pulsatile tinnitus sufferers because so many of us hear different types of pulsing
sounds and different volumes and pitches. All I want to relay here is that this product really helped me and I'm hopeful
that it can help many of you, especially if you have similar sleeping issues as I described above.
And for full
(and required) disclosure: when the SleepPhones™ people gave me a free pair, I didn't promise to write a good review;
in fact, I told them ahead of time that I wanted to try the product out before even suggesting that it may be helpful to any
of my fellow whooshers. After all, there are many products out there that promise this and that and, well, most of them
are collecting dust somewhere in my house. I'm sure a lot of you have had similar impulse buys out of desperation for
a good night's sleep.
So I write now to tell you all that, based on my experience, I think these may be
worth a try if you have pulsatile tinnitus and are having a difficult time falling or staying asleep because of the whooshing.
I think they could help people with regular tinnitus as well.
To sum up, these are my favorite features:
The sound quality is clear.
The speakers are inside the soft fleece, so you
don't feel them as much as regular headphones. They are flat inside the headband so they don't stick out. You can adjust
the speakers so they fit right over your ears. If you want to, you can even remove the speakers on the side you don't
whoosh, for those of you (like me) who only whoosh on one side.
The cord comes out the back, not the sides,
so even if you toss and turn you're less likely to get all tangled up and choke yourself.
are currently on sale through the end of January 2011. And for any item purchased by a Whoosher, the
SleepPhones™ folks will provide a portion of proceeds to Whooshers.com!
As you all probably know, I don't get paid for any of my work here on Whooshers.com. My point in
launching this site was not (and is not) to make money... the point is to help people like me cope with what is often a very
isolating and difficult symptom to cope with. I promise that any proceeds received as a result of these sales will go
toward our future site redesign (which is already in the works!) and other projects. We have several Whooshers group
meetings planned, more tshirts to produce, and more.
Best of all, I think this may be an opportunity for some
of you to get a better night's sleep! Be sure to check out SleepPhones™ soon and review their site for more information!
Coarctation of Aorta / Aortic Coarctation: Another Cause of Pulsatile Tinnitus
According to MayoClinic.com, coarctation of aorta (also called aortic coarctation) is a condition that means narrowing of the aorta. It's a congenital disease, which
means it's usually present at birth. Pulsatile tinnitus is, in some cases, a symptom of coarctation of aorta.
Especially if you've had pulsatile tinnitus your entire life, this (and other congenital diseases) may be an underlying
cause to consider. The most common symptom of coarctation of aorta in older children and adults is high blood pressure
This medical journal article case report (just the abstract/summary is available here for free) discusses a "fit" 37-year old male with coarctation of aorta
who experienced hearing loss and pulsatile tinnitus. Actually, the journal article refers to it as "tinnitus"
but if you read the abstract all the way to the end, where the writers finally refer to it as PULSATILE TINNITUS, it's clear
that this patient had PULSATILE tinnitus, NOT regular tinnitus. Big mistake doctors, not calling it what it is from
According to the article -which was published in 2004- this is the first reported case of tinnitus
due to "coarctation of aorta." The patient underwent a rather invasive surgical procedure, but, as the article
noted, his pulsatile tinnitus went AWAY and his hearing was well improved. They write,
"His lifelong intractable
pulsatile tinnitus and sensorineural deafness resolved completely following a tube bybass for the aortic coarctation."
If you experience any of the symptoms of coarctation of aorta, it may very well be worth reviewing this medical journal article with your doctors. You never know...