Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s no fun when you’re unable to sleep at night. Especially when it occurs regularly. You lie awake tossing and turning, looking at 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 persistent insomnia will add up, negatively impacting your general health.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, “your overall health” includes your hearing health. Yup, your hearing can be negatively affected by insomnia! This isn’t exactly a cause-and-effect relationship, but that doesn’t mean there’s no connection between hearing loss and insomnia.

Can your hearing be affected by lack of sleep?

How could loss of sleep possibly impact your hearing? There’s a substantial amount of research that indicates insomnia, over a long enough period, can affect your cardiovascular system. It becomes harder for your blood to circulate into all of the extremities of your body when you don’t get the renewing power of a good night’s sleep.

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

So, how does hearing loss play into that? There are little hairs inside of your ears called stereocilia. These delicate hairs vibrate when sound happens and the information gets transmitted to your brain, which then translates those vibrations into sounds.

These little hairs have a hard time remaining healthy when there are circulatory issues. These hairs can, in some cases, be permanently damaged. And once that happens, your hearing will be permanently damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the outcome, and the longer the circulation problems continue, 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? It’s certainly possible. Hearing loss can make the world very quiet, and some people like a little bit of sound when they try to sleep. For individuals in this group, that amount of quiet can make it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Another way that hearing loss might cost you some sleep is if you find yourself stressed about losing your hearing.

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

How to get a good night’s sleep

  • Avoid screens for at least 1 hour before going to bed: (Even longer if you can!) Your brain has a tendency to be stimulated by looking at screens.
  • For at least a couple of hours before you go to bed, try to abstain from liquids: Needing to get up and go to the bathroom can initiate the “wake up” process in your brain. So, sleeping through the night is better.
  • Exercise regularly: Your body needs to move, and if you aren’t moving, you may end up going to bed with a bit of excess energy. Getting enough exercise every day will really be helpful.
  • Before bed, avoid drinking alcohol: This will simply disrupt your natural sleep cycle.
  • Find ways to relieve stress: It might not be possible to eliminate every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to unwind is crucial. Do something relaxing before bed.
  • 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.
  • Quit drinking caffeine after noon: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you up at night if you drink at night. Soda also falls into this category.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing

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

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.

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