Does Insomnia Impact Hearing Loss?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights are no fun. And when it happens frequnetly, it’s particularly vexing. You toss and turn and probably stare at the clock (or your phone) and stress about just how fatigued you’ll be the next day. Medical professionals call this kind of persistent sleeplessness “insomnia”. With insomnia, the negatives of not sleeping will then start to add up and can, after a while, have a negative affect on your general health.

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

Can your hearing be impacted by lack of sleep?

What could the relationship between hearing loss and sleep be? According to considerable research, your cardiovascular system can be impacted by insomnia over a long time period. Without the nightly renewing 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 called stereocilia. These fragile hairs vibrate when sound occurs and the information gets sent to your brain, which then translates those vibrations into sounds.

When your circulatory system is not functioning correctly, these hairs have a hard time thriving. In some circumstances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. And once that happens, your hearing will be irrevocably damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the outcome, and the longer the circulation issues persist, the worse the damage will be.

Is the reverse true?

If insomnia can impact your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from sleeping? It’s definitely possible. Hearing loss can make the environment really quiet, and some individuals like a little bit of sound when they try to sleep. For individuals in this category, that amount of silence can make it really difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Another way that hearing loss may cost you some sleep is if you find yourself stressed about losing your hearing.

If you have hearing loss, what can you do to get a quality night’s sleep? Stress on your brain can be reduced by wearing your hearing aids during the day because you won’t be wearing them while you sleep. Following other sleep-health tips can also be helpful.

How to get a quality night’s sleep

  • Quit drinking 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 as well.
  • For at least an hour, abstain from looking at screens: (Even longer if possible!) Your brain has a tendency to be activated by looking at screens.
  • Find ways to alleviate stress: It might not be possible to remove every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is essential. Do something relaxing before you go to bed.
  • Maintain your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to keep it that way. For example, don’t do work in your bedroom.
  • Get some exercise regularly: Your body needs to keep moving, and if you aren’t moving, you may end up going to bed with a bit of extra energy. Getting enough exercise every day can be really helpful.
  • Avoid drinking a couple of hours before bed: Having to get up and go to the bathroom can start the “wake up” process in your brain. It’s better to sleep right through the night.
  • Refrain from using alcohol before you go to bed: Your existing sleep cycle will be interrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing

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

If you’re concerned about your hearing, set up 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.