Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights aren’t any fun. Especially when it happens frequently. You toss and turn and probably stare at the clock (or your phone) and worry about just how fatigued you’ll be the next day. Medical professionals call this type of chronic sleeplessness “insomnia”. With insomnia, the downsides of not sleeping will then begin to compound and can, after a while, have a negative impact on your general health.

And the health of your hearing, not surprisingly, is part of your overall 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 scenario, there’s still a connection there.

Can lack of sleep affect your hearing?

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

Insomnia also means an increase in stress and anxiety. Feeling stressed and anxious will impact you in physiological ways as well as mentally.

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

When your circulatory system isn’t working correctly, these hairs have a difficult time thriving. These hairs can, in some instances, be irreversibly damaged. And once that happens, your hearing will be permanently damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the consequences, and the longer the circulation problems persist, the worse the damage will be.

Does it also work the other way around?

If insomnia can impact your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from getting a good night’s sleep? Yes, it can! Hearing loss can make the world very quiet, and some individuals like a little bit of sound when they try to sleep. For people in this group, that amount of silence can make it really hard to get a good night’s sleep. Another way that hearing loss might cost you some sleep is if you find yourself anxious about losing your hearing.

So how do you get a quality night’s sleep with hearing loss? Wearing your hearing aids during the day can help minimize stress on your brain at night (when you aren’t wearing them). It can also be helpful if you implement some other sleep-health tips.

Some recommendations for a good night’s sleep

  • Try to de-stress as much as you can: It may not be possible to remove every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is crucial. Do something relaxing before you go to bed.
  • Try to avoid drinking liquids 2 hours before bed: Needing to get up and go to the bathroom can begin the “wake up” process in your brain. So, sleeping through the night is much better.
  • Avoid screens for at least 1 hour before going to bed: (Even longer if you can!) Your brain tends to be stimulated by looking at screens.
  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Try to limit the amount of things you use your bedroom for. For instance, don’t work in your bedroom.
  • Avoid using alcohol before you go to bed: Your existing sleep cycle will be disrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Exercise regularly: You may go to bed with some excess energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Being active every day can be helpful.
  • Stop drinking caffeine after midday: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you up at night if you drink it late enough. Soda also falls into this category.

Care for your hearing health

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

Schedule an appointment for a hearing test 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.