Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights aren’t any fun. And when it occurs on a regular basis, it’s especially vexing. You toss and turn and maybe stare at the clock (or your phone) and worry about just how exhausted you’ll be the next day. Medical professionals call this type of chronic sleeplessness “insomnia”. With insomnia, the negatives of not sleeping will then start to compound and can, over time, have a negative impact on your overall health.

And, maybe not surprisingly, “your overall health” includes your hearing health. That’s correct, insomnia can have an impact on your ability to hear. This isn’t generally a cause-and-effect relationship, but that doesn’t mean there’s no link between hearing loss and insomnia.

Can lack of sleep affect your hearing?

What could the relationship between hearing loss and sleep be? According to substantial research, your cardiovascular system can be affected by insomnia over a long period of time. Without the nightly regenerative power of sleep, it’s more difficult for your blood to get everywhere it needs to be.

Insomnia also means an increase in stress and anxiety. Being stressed and anxious are not only mental states, they’re physiological states, as well.

So, how does hearing loss play into that? There are little hairs inside of your ears called stereocilia. When sound waves vibrate these tiny hairs, signals are sent to your brain which translates these signals into sound.

When your circulatory system isn’t functioning correctly, these hairs have a hard time thriving. In some circumstances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. And once that takes place, your hearing will be irrevocably damaged. This can lead to permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it persists.

Does it also work the other way around?

Is it possible for hearing loss to cause you to lose sleep? Yes, it can! Many individuals favor a little background noise when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make the world really quiet. For individuals in this group, that amount of quiet can make it really difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Another way that hearing loss could cost you some sleep is if you find yourself stressed about losing your hearing.

So how do you get a quality night’s sleep with hearing loss? Stress on your brain can be decreased by wearing your hearing aids every day because you won’t be wearing them while you sleep. Following other sleep-health tips can also be helpful.

Some tips for a good night’s sleep

  • Try not to use your bedroom for other activities other than sleeping: Try to minimize the amount of things you utilize your bedroom for. Working in your bedroom is not a very good idea.
  • Find ways to relieve stress: Get away from work and do something relaxing before bed.
  • For at least 60 minutes, abstain from looking at screens: (Even longer if you can!) Screens have a tendency to activate your brain
  • Don’t drink caffeine after lunch.: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you trouble sleeping. This includes soda as well.
  • Get some exercise regularly: You could go to bed with some extra energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Being active every day can help.
  • For at least a couple of hours before you go to 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.
  • Before bed, avoid drinking alcohol: This will simply disrupt your existing sleep cycle.

Be aware of the health of your hearing

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

Make an appointment for a hearing exam today!

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