Hearing Health Blog

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s no fun when you’re unable to sleep at night. Particularly when it happens regularly. You lie awake tossing and turning, looking at the time again and again, and worrying about how tired you will be tomorrow. When these kinds of sleepless nights routinely occur, medical professionals tend to use the label “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of chronic insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your overall health.

And the health of your hearing, not unexpectedly, is part of your overall health. That’s right, insomnia can have an affect on your ability to hear. This isn’t generally a cause-and-effect relationship, but that doesn’t mean there’s no connection between hearing loss and insomnia.

Can your hearing be affected by lack of sleep?

How could loss of sleep possibly impact your hearing? There’s a significant amount of research that suggests insomnia, over a long enough period, can affect your cardiovascular system. Without the nightly regenerative power of sleep, it’s more difficult for your blood to get everywhere it needs to be.

Stress and anxiety also increase with insomnia. Feeling stressed and anxious will affect you in physiological ways as well as mentally.

So how is that relevant to hearing loss? There are little hairs inside of your ears known as stereocilia. These fragile hairs vibrate when sound happens and the information gets transmitted to your brain, which then converts those vibrations into sounds.

These tiny hairs have a difficult time staying healthy when there are circulatory problems. In some instances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. Damage of this type is permanent. This can result in permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it persists.

Does it also work the other way around?

If insomnia can impact your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from sleeping? It’s absolutely possible. Hearing loss can make the environment really quiet, and some people like a little bit of noise when they sleep. For people in this category, that amount of quiet can make it very hard to get a quality night’s sleep. Any kind of hearing loss anxiety (for example, if you’re worried about losing your hearing) can have a similar effect.

So how can you get a good night’s sleep when you have hearing loss? Wearing your hearing aids every day can help reduce stress on your brain at night (when you aren’t wearing them). Adhering to other sleep-health tips can also help.

Some tips for a quality night’s sleep

  • Try to avoid drinking 2 hours before you go to bed: Having to get up and go to the bathroom can start the “wake up” process in your brain. It’s better to sleep right through the night.
  • Try to de-stress as much as possible: It might not be possible to remove every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is crucial. Do something relaxing before you go to bed.
  • Maintain your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Try to limit the amount of things you utilize your bedroom for. Working in your bedroom is not a very good idea.
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol before you go to bed: Your natural sleep cycle will be disrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Exercise regularly: You might go to bed with some extra energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Being active every day can help.
  • Steer clear of screens for at least 60 minutes before bed: (Actually, the longer the better.) Your brain has a tendency to be activated by looking at screens.
  • Stop drinking caffeine after noon: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you up at night if you drink it late enough. Soda also fits into this category.

Care for your hearing health

Even if you have experienced some insomnia-associated symptoms before, and have some hearing loss, your symptoms can still be controlled.

Make an appointment for a hearing exam today!

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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