Can Hearing Loss be Affected by Insomnia?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s not fun when you can’t sleep at night. Particularly when it happens regularly. You toss and turn and maybe stare at the clock (or your phone) and worry about just how tired you’ll be the next day. 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 surprisingly, is part of your overall health. Yup, your hearing can be negatively impacted by insomnia! This isn’t generally a cause-and-effect relationship, but that doesn’t mean there’s no connection between hearing loss and insomnia.

Can lack of sleep affect your hearing?

What could the relationship between hearing loss and sleep be? There’s a substantial amount of research that indicates insomnia, over time, can impact your cardiovascular system. It becomes more difficult for your blood to flow into all of the extremities of your body when you don’t get the restorative power of a good night’s sleep.

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

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

When your circulatory system is not functioning correctly, these hairs have a difficult time thriving. In some cases, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. And once that takes place, your hearing will be permanently damaged. This can cause permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it continues.

Is the opposite true?

Is it possible for hearing loss to make you lose sleep? Yes, it can! Hearing loss can make the world very quiet, and some people like a little bit of noise when they sleep. This means that the quiet of hearing loss can in some cases prevent normal sleeping. 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 every day can help minimize stress on your brain at night (when you’re not wearing them). Following other sleep-health tips can also help.

Some tips for a quality night’s sleep

  • Exercise regularly: Your body needs to keep moving, and if you aren’t moving, you could end up going to bed with a bit of excess energy. Getting enough exercise every day can be really helpful.
  • Try to de-stress as much as possible: Get away from work and do something soothing before bed.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after lunch.: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you awake at night if you drink it late enough. Soda also falls into this category.
  • Try not to utilize your bedroom for other activities besides sleeping: Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to maintain that habit. Working in your bedroom is not a very good idea.
  • Try to avoid drinking liquids a couple of hours before you go to bed: Each 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.
  • Avoid screens for at least 1 hour before bed: (Even longer if possible!) Screens tend to activate your brain
  • Before you go to bed, avoid drinking alcohol: Your natural sleep cycle will be interrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing

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

If you’re worried 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.