Does Insomnia Affect Hearing Loss?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights are no fun. Particularly when it occurs frequently. You toss and turn and probably stare at the clock (or your phone) and worry about just how exhausted you’ll be the next day. Medical professionals call this kind of chronic sleeplessness “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of chronic insomnia will add up, negatively impacting your general health.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, “your general health” includes your hearing health. Yup, your hearing can be negatively affected by insomnia! Though the relationship between hearing loss and insomnia may not be a cause-and-effect situation, there’s still a connection there.

Can your hearing be affected by lack of sleep?

How could loss of sleep possibly affect your hearing? There’s a considerable amount of research that suggests insomnia, over a long enough period, can affect your cardiovascular system. Without the nightly recuperative power of sleep, it’s harder for your blood to get everywhere it needs to be.

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

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

When your circulatory system is not functioning correctly, these hairs have a hard time thriving. These hairs can, in some cases, be permanently damaged. Damage of this kind is permanent. This can cause permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it continues.

Does it also work the other way around?

Is it possible for hearing loss to cause you to lose sleep? It’s certainly possible. Hearing loss can make the world very quiet, and some people like a little bit of noise when they try to sleep. This means that the quiet of hearing loss can in some cases prevent normal sleeping. Any amount of hearing loss anxiety (for instance, if you’re worried about losing your hearing) can have a similar impact.

So how do you get a quality night’s sleep with hearing loss? Wearing your hearing aids every day can help lessen stress on your brain at night (when you aren’t wearing them). It can also help if you follow some other sleep-health tips.

Some tips for a quality night’s sleep

  • Avoid screens for at least 1 hour before bed: (Really, the longer the better.) Your brain tends to be stimulated by looking at screens.
  • Find ways to alleviate stress: Get away from work and do something soothing before bed.
  • Try to avoid drinking liquids a couple of hours before you go to bed: Every time you need to get up and go to the bathroom, you begin the wake up process. It’s better to sleep right through the night.
  • Try not to utilize your bedroom for other activities besides sleeping: Try to minimize the amount of things you use your bedroom for. Working in your bedroom isn’t a very good idea.
  • Get some exercise regularly: Your body needs to move, and if you aren’t moving, you may end up going to bed with a bit of excess energy. Being active every day can help.
  • Stop drinking caffeine after midday: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you problems sleeping. This includes soda too.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before you go to bed: Your natural sleep cycle will be disrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.

Care for your hearing health

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

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.