Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s not fun when you can’t sleep at night. And when it occurs frequnetly, it’s especially vexing. You lie awake tossing and turning, looking at the time over and over, and worrying about how exhausted you will be tomorrow. When these types of sleepless nights persistently happen, medical professionals tend to use the label “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of persistent insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your overall health.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, “your general 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 connection there.

Can your hearing be affected by lack of sleep?

What could the link between hearing loss and sleep be? According to considerable research, your cardiovascular system can be impacted by insomnia over a long time period. Without the nightly renewing 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. Feeling anxious and stressed will impact you in physiological ways as well as mentally.

So how is that related to hearing loss? There are little hairs inside of your ears known as stereocilia. These delicate hairs vibrate when sound occurs and the information gets sent to your brain, which then translates those vibrations into sounds.

These tiny hairs have a hard time remaining healthy when there are circulatory problems. In some circumstances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. And once that happens, your hearing will be permanently damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the consequences, and the longer the circulation problems continue, the worse the damage will be.

Does it also work the other way around?

Is it possible for hearing loss to cause you to lose sleep? Yes, it can! Hearing loss can make the environment really quiet, and some people like a little bit of noise when they sleep. For individuals in this category, that amount of silence can make it really hard to get a good night’s sleep. Another way that hearing loss may cost you some sleep is if you find yourself stressed about losing your hearing.

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

Some guidelines for a good night’s sleep

  • Quit drinking caffeine after midday: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you awake at night if you drink at night. This includes soda as well.
  • Maintain your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to keep it that way. Working in your bedroom isn’t a very good plan.
  • For at least 60 minutes, avoid looking at screens: (Even longer if you can!) Screens have a tendency to activate your brain
  • Get some exercise regularly: You may go to bed with some excess energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Being active every day can help.
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol before you go to bed: Your natural sleep cycle will be interrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Try to de-stress as much as possible: It may not be possible to eliminate every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to unwind is critical. Do something relaxing before bed.
  • Try to avoid drinking liquids a couple of hours before bed: Every time you need to get up and go to the bathroom, you start the wake up process. It’s much better to sleep right through the night.

Take care of your hearing health

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

If you’re worried about your hearing, set up 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.