Can Hearing Loss be Affected by Insomnia?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights are no fun. And when it occurs on a regular basis, it’s particularly 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. Medical professionals call this type of persistent sleeplessness “insomnia”. With insomnia, the downsides of not sleeping will then start to add up and can, over time, have a negative impact on your overall health.

And the health of your hearing, not surprisingly, is part of your general health. That’s right, insomnia can have an impact 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 lack of sleep affect your hearing?

How could loss of sleep possibly affect your hearing? According to substantial research, your cardiovascular system can be affected by insomnia over a long time period. It becomes harder 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. Feeling stressed and anxious will affect you in physiological ways as well as mentally.

So how is that related to hearing loss? There are little hairs inside of your ears called stereocilia. These delicate hairs vibrate when sound occurs and the information gets transmitted to your brain, which then converts those vibrations into sounds.

These tiny hairs have a difficult time staying healthy when there are circulatory problems. In some circumstances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. And once that happens, your hearing will be permanently damaged. This can cause permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it persists.

Does it also work the other way around?

Is it possible for hearing loss to cause you to lose sleep? It’s certainly possible. Many individuals favor a little background noise when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make your environment very quiet. For people in this group, that amount of silence can make it really difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Another way that hearing loss might cost you some sleep is if you find yourself stressed about losing your hearing.

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 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

  • Try to avoid drinking 2 hours before you go to bed: Needing to get up and go to the bathroom can initiate the “wake up” process in your brain. It’s better to sleep right through the night.
  • Maintain your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Try to limit the amount of things you utilize your bedroom for. For example, don’t do work in your bedroom.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after lunch.: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you trouble sleeping. Soda also falls into this category.
  • Get some exercise regularly: Your body needs to keep moving, and if you aren’t moving, you might end up going to bed with a bit of extra energy. Being active every day can be helpful.
  • For at least an hour, abstain from looking at screens: (Really, the longer the better.) Screens have a tendency to activate your brain
  • Find ways to alleviate stress: It may not be possible to remove every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is critical. Do something relaxing before you go to bed.
  • Before you go to bed, refrain from drinking alcohol: Your existing sleep cycle will be disrupted 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.

Schedule 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.