Can Hearing Loss be Affected by Insomnia?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights aren’t any fun. Particularly when it happens regularly. 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. When these types of sleepless nights persistently happen, medical professionals tend to use the term “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of persistent insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your overall health.

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

Can your hearing be affected by lack of sleep?

What could the relationship between hearing loss and sleep be? According to substantial research, your cardiovascular system can be impacted by insomnia over a long time period. It becomes harder for your blood to circulate into all of the extremities of your body when you don’t get the renewing power of a good night’s sleep.

Anxiety and stress also increase when you have insomnia. Being stressed and anxious are not only mental states, they’re physiological states, also.

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

These tiny hairs have a hard time staying healthy when there are circulatory issues. These hairs can, in some instances, be permanently damaged. And once that happens, your hearing will be permanently damaged. This can cause permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it continues.

Does it also work the other way around?

If insomnia can affect your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from getting a good night’s sleep? It’s absolutely possible. Many people favor a little background sound when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make the world very quiet. For individuals in this group, that amount of silence can make it really difficult to get a quality night’s sleep. Any amount of hearing loss anxiety (for instance, if you’re stressed about losing your hearing) can have a similar effect.

If you have hearing loss, what can you do to get a good night’s sleep? Wearing your hearing aids during the day can help reduce stress on your brain at night (when you aren’t wearing them). It can also help if you implement some other sleep-health tips.

How to get a good night’s sleep

  • Stop drinking caffeine after midday: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you difficulty sleeping. This includes soda also.
  • Find ways to alleviate stress: Get away from work and do something relaxing before bed.
  • Exercise regularly: Your body needs to move, and if you aren’t moving, you might end up going to bed with some extra energy. Being active every day can be helpful.
  • Try to avoid drinking 2 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.
  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Try to limit the amount of things you use your bedroom for. Working in your bedroom is not a great idea.
  • For at least 1 hour, avoid looking at screens: (Even longer if possible!) Screens have a tendency to activate your brain
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol before you go to bed: This will simply disrupt your existing sleep cycle.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing

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

Make 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.