Does Insomnia Impact Hearing Loss?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s not fun when you can’t sleep at night. Especially when it occurs frequently. You lie awake tossing and turning, checking the time over and over, and worrying about how exhausted you will be tomorrow. When these kinds of sleepless nights persistently occur, medical professionals tend to use the label “insomnia”. With insomnia, the drawbacks of not sleeping will then start to add up and can, after a while, have a negative influence on your general health.

And the health of your hearing, not unexpectedly, is part of your general health. That’s right, insomnia can have an affect on your ability to hear. Though the relationship between hearing loss and insomnia might not be a cause-and-effect situation, there’s still a connection there.

Can your hearing be affected by lack of sleep?

What could the link between hearing loss and sleep be? There’s a substantial amount of research that indicates insomnia, over time, can affect your cardiovascular system. It becomes more difficult for your blood to flow into all of the extremities of your body when you aren’t getting the regenerative power of a good night’s sleep.

Stress and anxiety also increase when you have insomnia. Being stressed and anxious are not only mental states, they’re physiological states, too.

So how is that connected to hearing loss? Your ears work because they’re filled with delicate little hairs known as stereocilia. These fragile hairs vibrate when sound occurs and the information gets transmitted to your brain, which then converts those vibrations into sounds.

When your circulatory system is not working correctly, these hairs have a hard time remaining healthy. In some cases, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. And once that takes place, your hearing will be permanently damaged. This can cause permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it continues.

Is the opposite true?

Is it possible for hearing loss to make you lose sleep? Yes, it can! Many people favor a little background sound when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make your environment really quiet. For people in this group, that amount of quiet can make it very hard to get a quality night’s sleep. Any amount of hearing loss stress (for instance, if you’re worried about losing your hearing) can have a similar effect.

If you have hearing loss, what can you do to get a quality night’s sleep? Wearing your hearing aids every day can help minimize stress on your brain at night (when you’re not wearing them). Following other sleep-health tips can also be helpful.

Some recommendations for a quality night’s sleep

  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to keep it that way. Working in your bedroom is not a great idea.
  • For at least an hour, abstain from looking at screens: (Even longer if you can!) Your brain tends to be activated by looking at screens.
  • Before bed, avoid drinking alcohol: Your existing sleep cycle will be disturbed by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Stop drinking caffeine after noon: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you problems sleeping. Soda also fits into this category.
  • Exercise regularly: Your body needs to move, and if you aren’t moving, you could end up going to bed with some excess energy. Being active every day can be helpful.
  • For at least a couple of hours before you go to bed, try to avoid liquids: Every time you need to get up and go to the bathroom, you initiate the wake up process. So, sleeping through the night is better.
  • Find ways to reduce stress: Get away from work and do something relaxing before bed.

Care for your hearing health

You can still control your symptoms even if you have hearing loss along with some insomnia.

Make an appointment for a hearing test today!

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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