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 occurs on a regular basis, it’s particularly vexing. You lie awake tossing and turning, looking at the time again and again, and stressing about how exhausted you will be tomorrow. Medical professionals call this kind of chronic sleeplessness “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of persistent insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your overall health.

And the health of your hearing, not surprisingly, is part of your overall health. Yup, your hearing can be negatively impacted by insomnia! Though the relationship between hearing loss and insomnia may not be a cause-and-effect situation, there’s still a link there.

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 impact your cardiovascular system. It becomes more difficult for your blood to circulate into all of the extremities of your body when you aren’t getting the recuperative power of a good night’s sleep.

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

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

These little hairs have a hard time remaining healthy when there are circulatory problems. In some circumstances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. Damage of this kind is permanent. Permanent hearing loss can be the consequences, and the longer the circulation issues 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? It’s absolutely possible. Many individuals prefer a little background noise when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make the world very quiet. This means that the quiet of hearing loss can in some cases prevent normal sleeping. Any kind of hearing loss stress (for example, if you’re worried about losing your hearing) can have a similar impact.

So how can you get a good night’s sleep when you have hearing loss? Wearing your hearing aids during the day can help reduce stress on your brain at night (when you’re not wearing them). It can also help if you implement some other sleep-health tips.

Some guidelines for a good night’s sleep

  • For at least 2 hours before you go to bed, try to avoid liquids: Having to get up and go to the bathroom can initiate the “wake up” process in your brain. So, sleeping through the night is much better.
  • Before you go to bed, avoid drinking alcohol: This will simply interrupt your existing sleep cycle.
  • Try not to use your bedroom for other activities other than sleeping: Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to maintain that habit. Working in your bedroom isn’t a great plan.
  • Get some exercise regularly: Your body needs to move, and if you aren’t moving, you could end up going to bed with some extra energy. Being active every day can help.
  • Try to de-stress as much as you can: It may not be possible to eliminate every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is essential. Do something relaxing before you go to bed.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after midday.: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you awake at night if you drink it late enough. This includes soda too.
  • Steer clear of screens for at least 1 hour before bed: (Really, the longer the better.) Screens tend to stimulate your brain

Be aware of the health of your hearing

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

Schedule an appointment for a hearing exam 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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