Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights are no fun. And when it occurs on a regular basis, it’s especially vexing. You lie awake tossing and turning, checking the time again and again, and worrying about how exhausted you will be tomorrow. Medical professionals call this type of chronic sleeplessness “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of chronic insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your overall health.

And, maybe not surprisingly, “your overall health” includes your hearing health. Yup, your hearing can be negatively affected by insomnia! Though the relationship between hearing loss and insomnia might not be a cause-and-effect situation, there’s still a link there.

Can your hearing be affected by lack of sleep?

What could the link between hearing loss and sleep be? There’s a considerable amount of research that indicates insomnia, over time, can affect your cardiovascular system. Without the nightly recuperative power of sleep, it’s harder for your blood to get everywhere it needs to be.

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

So how is that related to hearing loss? Your ears work because they’re filled with fragile little hairs known as stereocilia. When sound waves vibrate these tiny hairs, signals are sent to your brain which translates these signals into sound.

These little hairs have a hard time remaining healthy when there are circulatory problems. In some situations, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. And once that takes place, your hearing will be irrevocably damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the outcome, and the longer the circulation problems continue, the more significant the damage will be.

Does it also work the other way around?

Is it possible for hearing loss to cause you to lose sleep? It’s definitely possible. Hearing loss can make the world very quiet, and some people like a little bit of noise when they sleep. For people in this group, that amount of silence can make it really hard to get a quality night’s sleep. Any kind of hearing loss anxiety (for instance, if you’re worried about losing your hearing) can have a similar impact.

If you have hearing loss, what can you do to get a good night’s sleep? Stress on your brain can be reduced by wearing your hearing aids during the day because you won’t be wearing them at night. It can also help if you implement some other sleep-health tips.

Some guidelines for a quality night’s sleep

  • Get some exercise regularly: Your body needs to keep moving, and if you aren’t moving, you may end up going to bed with some extra energy. Getting enough exercise daily can really be helpful.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after lunch.: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you awake at night if you drink at night. This includes soda too.
  • Try not to utilize your bedroom for other activities other than sleeping: Try to limit the amount of things you utilize your bedroom for. Working in your bedroom is not a great plan.
  • For at least a couple of hours before bed, try to avoid liquids: Needing to get up and go to the bathroom can start the “wake up” process in your brain. So, sleeping through the night is much better.
  • For at least an hour, abstain from looking at screens: (Actually, the longer the better.) Screens tend to stimulate your brain
  • Try to de-stress as much as possible: It might not be possible to get rid of every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to unwind is essential. Do something relaxing before you go to bed.
  • Before bed, refrain from drinking alcohol: Your natural sleep cycle will be disrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.

Care for your hearing health

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

If you’re concerned about your hearing, schedule an appointment with us 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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