Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights aren’t any fun. Especially when it happens regularly. You lie awake tossing and turning, checking the time over and over, and stressing about how exhausted you will be tomorrow. Medical professionals call this type of persistent sleeplessness “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of chronic insomnia will compound, negatively impacting 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 lack of sleep affect your hearing?

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

Stress and anxiety also increase with insomnia. Being stressed and anxious are not only states of mind, they’re physiological states, also.

So, how does hearing loss play into that? 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 isn’t functioning correctly, these hairs have a hard time remaining healthy. These hairs can, in some cases, be permanently damaged. And once that takes place, your hearing will be irrevocably damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the result, and the longer the circulation issues persist, the more significant the damage will be.

Does it also work the other way around?

If insomnia can affect your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from sleeping? Yes, it can! Hearing loss can make the environment really quiet, and some people like a little bit of noise when they try to sleep. For individuals in this category, that amount of silence can make it very hard to get a good night’s sleep. Any kind of hearing loss stress (for instance, if you’re stressed 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? Wearing your hearing aids during the day can help minimize stress on your brain at night (when you’re not wearing them). It can also help if you follow some other sleep-health tips.

Some guidelines for a good night’s sleep

  • Try to de-stress as much as possible: Get away from work and do something soothing before bed.
  • Get some exercise regularly: Your body needs to keep moving, and if you aren’t moving, you might end up going to bed with a bit of extra energy. Getting enough exercise every day can be really helpful.
  • Try to avoid drinking a couple of hours before you go to bed: Every time you need to get up and go to the bathroom, you begin the wake up process. So, sleeping through the night is better.
  • Avoid using alcohol before you go to bed: Your existing sleep cycle will be disturbed by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Quit 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.
  • Maintain your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to maintain that habit. Working in your bedroom isn’t a great plan.
  • For at least an hour, abstain from looking at screens: (Even longer if you can!) Screens have a tendency to activate your brain

Be aware of the health of your hearing

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

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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