Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights aren’t any fun. Especially when it occurs regularly. You lie awake tossing and turning, looking at the time over and over, and worrying about how exhausted you will be tomorrow. When these kinds of sleepless nights routinely occur, medical professionals tend to use the term “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of chronic insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your general health.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, “your overall health” includes the health of your hearing. That’s correct, insomnia can have an affect on your ability to hear. Though the relationship between hearing loss and insomnia might not be a cause-and-effect situation, there’s still a link there.

Can your hearing be impacted by lack of sleep?

How could loss of sleep possibly affect your hearing? According to considerable research, your cardiovascular system can be influenced by insomnia over a long period of time. It becomes harder for your blood to circulate into all of the extremities of your body when you aren’t getting the regenerative power of a good night’s sleep.

Stress and anxiety also increase when you have insomnia. Being stressed and anxious aren’t only mental states, they’re physiological states, as well.

So how is that connected to hearing loss? There are tiny hairs inside of your ears called 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 properly, these hairs have a difficult time remaining healthy. In some circumstances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. Damage of this kind is permanent. Permanent hearing loss can be the result, and the longer the circulation problems persist, the more significant the damage will be.

Does it also work the other way around?

If insomnia can affect your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from sleeping? Yes, it can! Many people 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 kind of hearing loss anxiety (for instance, if you’re stressed about losing your hearing) can have a similar impact.

So how do you get a quality night’s sleep when you have hearing loss? Wearing your hearing aids during the day can help minimize stress on your brain at night (when you aren’t wearing them). Following other sleep-health tips can also be helpful.

Some tips for a good night’s sleep

  • Quit drinking caffeine after noon: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you up at night if you drink at night. Soda also falls into this category.
  • Find ways to relieve stress: It might not be possible to remove every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to unwind is critical. Do something relaxing before bed.
  • Before you go to bed, refrain from drinking alcohol: Your natural sleep cycle will be disturbed by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Avoid drinking a couple of hours before bed: Every time you need to get up and go to the bathroom, you initiate the wake up process. So, sleeping through the night is better.
  • Steer clear of screens for at least 60 minutes before bed: (Really, the longer the better.) Your brain tends to be activated by looking at screens.
  • Get some exercise regularly: You might go to bed with some extra energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Being active every day can be helpful.
  • Try not to use your bedroom for other activities besides sleeping: Try to minimize the amount of things you utilize your bedroom for. For example, don’t work in your bedroom.

Take care of your hearing health

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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