Can Hearing Loss be Affected by Insomnia?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s not fun when you’re unable to sleep at night. And when it happens on a regular basis, it’s particularly vexing. 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 chronic sleeplessness “insomnia”. With insomnia, the drawbacks of not sleeping will then begin to add up 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 right, insomnia can have an impact on your ability to hear. Though the relationship between hearing loss and insomnia may 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? According to substantial research, your cardiovascular system can be affected by insomnia over a long time period. Without the nightly restorative power of sleep, it’s harder for your blood to get everywhere it needs to be.

Anxiety and stress also increase with insomnia. Feeling stressed and anxious will affect you in physiological ways as well as mentally.

So how is that relevant to hearing loss? Your ears work because they’re filled with delicate little hairs called stereocilia. These fragile hairs vibrate when sound happens and the information gets transmitted to your brain, which then translates those vibrations into sounds.

When your circulatory system is not working correctly, these hairs have a difficult time thriving. In some instances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. Damage of this kind is permanent. This can lead to permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it continues.

Does it also work the other way around?

Is it possible for hearing loss to cause you to lose sleep? It’s certainly possible. Many people favor a little background sound when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make your environment very quiet. This means that the quiet of hearing loss can in some cases prevent normal sleeping. Another way that hearing loss might 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 lessen stress on your brain at night (when you aren’t wearing them). It can also help if you follow some other sleep-health tips.

Some recommendations for a good night’s sleep

  • Try not to utilize your bedroom for other activities other than sleeping: Try to minimize the amount of things you use your bedroom for. For instance, don’t work in your bedroom.
  • Avoid drinking liquids 2 hours before you go to bed: Each time you need to get up and go to the bathroom, you initiate the wake up process. So, sleeping through the night is better.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after lunch.: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you difficulty sleeping. This includes soda too.
  • Steer clear of screens for at least an hour before bed: (Actually, the longer the better.) Screens have a tendency to stimulate your brain
  • Find ways to reduce stress: It may not be possible to get rid of every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is essential. Do something relaxing before bed.
  • Get some exercise regularly: Your body needs to move, and if you aren’t moving, you could end up going to bed with a bit of excess energy. Getting enough exercise daily will really be helpful.
  • Before you go to bed, avoid drinking alcohol: This will simply interrupt your natural sleep cycle.

Be aware of the health of your hearing

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

If you’re concerned about your hearing, make an appointment with us today.

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.