Does Insomnia Impact Hearing Loss?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s no fun when you can’t sleep at night. And when it happens on a regular basis, it’s especially vexing. You toss and turn and maybe stare at the clock (or your phone) and stress about just how fatigued you’ll be the next day. When these types of sleepless nights routinely happen, medical professionals tend to use the term “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of persistent insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your overall health.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, “your overall health” includes your hearing health. That’s correct, insomnia can have an affect on your ability to hear. This isn’t generally 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 significant amount of research that indicates insomnia, over a long enough period, 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.

Stress and anxiety also increase with insomnia. Being stressed and anxious are not only mental states, they’re physiological states, as well.

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

These tiny hairs have a hard time staying healthy when there are circulatory problems. These hairs can, in some cases, be irreversibly damaged. And once that takes place, your hearing will be irrevocably damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the result, and the longer the circulation problems persist, the more significant the damage will be.

Is the opposite true?

Is it possible for hearing loss to cause you to lose sleep? It’s certainly 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 sometimes prevent normal sleeping. Any amount of hearing loss stress (for example, if you’re worried about losing your hearing) can have a similar effect.

So how can you get a good night’s sleep when you have hearing loss? Stress on your brain can be decreased by wearing your hearing aids every day because you won’t be wearing them while you sleep. Adhering to other sleep-health tips can also help.

How to get a quality night’s sleep

  • 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. Soda also fits into this category.
  • Find ways to reduce stress: Get away from work and do something soothing before bed.
  • Steer clear of screens for at least an hour before going to bed: (Even longer if you can!) Your brain tends to be stimulated by looking at screens.
  • Try not to utilize your bedroom for other activities other than sleeping: Try to minimize the amount of things you use your bedroom for. Working in your bedroom isn’t a great plan.
  • For at least 2 hours before bed, try to abstain from 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 better.
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol before you go to bed: Your existing sleep cycle will be disrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Exercise regularly: You could go to bed with some extra energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Getting enough exercise daily can be really helpful.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing

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

Make an appointment for a hearing exam 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.