Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights aren’t any fun. Especially when it occurs frequently. You lie awake tossing and turning, checking the time over and over, and worrying about how tired you will be tomorrow. Medical professionals call this kind of persistent sleeplessness “insomnia”. With insomnia, the negatives of not sleeping will then start to compound and can, after a while, have a negative impact on your general health.

And the health of your hearing, not unexpectedly, 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 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 don’t get the recuperative power of a good night’s sleep.

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

So how is that connected to hearing loss? 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 working correctly, these hairs have a difficult time remaining healthy. These hairs can, in some instances, be permanently damaged. And once that happens, your hearing will be irrevocably damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the result, and the longer the circulation issues persist, the worse the damage will be.

Is the reverse true?

If insomnia can affect your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from getting a good night’s sleep? It’s definitely possible. Hearing loss can make the environment really quiet, and some people like a little bit of sound when they try to sleep. 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.

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

Some recommendations for a quality night’s sleep

  • Before you go to bed, avoid drinking alcohol: Your natural sleep cycle will be interrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • For at least a couple of hours before you go to bed, try to abstain from liquids: Having to get up and go to the bathroom can initiate the “wake up” process in your brain. It’s much better to sleep right through the night.
  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Try to limit the amount of things you use your bedroom for. Working in your bedroom is not a very good idea.
  • Exercise regularly: Your body needs to keep moving, and if you aren’t moving, you could end up going to bed with some excess energy. Getting enough exercise daily can really be helpful.
  • Avoid screens for at least an hour before going to bed: (Even longer if possible!) Your brain has a tendency to be stimulated by looking at screens.
  • Stop drinking caffeine after noon: 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: It may not be possible to remove every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is crucial. Do something relaxing before bed.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing

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

Make 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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