Does Insomnia Affect Hearing Loss?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights are no fun. Especially when it happens regularly. You lie awake tossing and turning, looking at the time again and again, and stressing about how tired 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 persistent insomnia will add up, negatively impacting your overall health.

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

Can lack of sleep affect your hearing?

How could loss of sleep possibly affect your hearing? There’s a significant amount of research that indicates insomnia, over a long enough period, can affect your cardiovascular system. It becomes more difficult for your blood to circulate into all of the extremities of your body when you aren’t getting the renewing power of a good night’s sleep.

Anxiety and stress also increase when you have insomnia. Being stressed and anxious aren’t only states of mind, they’re physiological states, too.

So, how does hearing loss play into that? There are tiny hairs inside of your ears called stereocilia. When sound waves vibrate these little hairs, signals are transmitted to your brain which translates these signals into sound.

These little hairs have a difficult time staying healthy when there are circulatory issues. In some instances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. Damage of this type is permanent. Permanent hearing loss can be the result, and the longer the circulation issues continue, the more significant the damage will be.

Does it also work the other way around?

If insomnia can impact your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from sleeping? It’s definitely possible. Hearing loss can make the world very quiet, and some people like a little bit of noise when they try to sleep. For individuals in this group, that amount of silence can make it really difficult to get a quality night’s sleep. Any kind of hearing loss stress (for example, if you’re stressed about losing your hearing) can have a similar impact.

So how do 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 good night’s sleep

  • For at least a couple of hours before you go to bed, try to avoid liquids: Needing to get up and go to the bathroom can start the “wake up” process in your brain. So, sleeping through the night is much better.
  • Before you go to bed, avoid drinking alcohol: Your natural sleep cycle will be interrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • For at least 60 minutes, abstain from looking at screens: (Even longer if you can!) Screens have a tendency to activate your brain
  • Stop drinking caffeine after noon: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you difficulty sleeping. This includes soda also.
  • Try not to use your bedroom for other activities besides sleeping: Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to keep it that way. For instance, don’t work in your bedroom.
  • Exercise regularly: Your body needs to keep moving, and if you aren’t moving, you may end up going to bed with some extra energy. Being active every day can be helpful.
  • Try to de-stress as much as you can: Get away from work and do something soothing before bed.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing

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

If you’re worried 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.