Does Insomnia Affect Hearing Loss?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights aren’t any fun. Especially when it occurs regularly. You toss and turn and maybe stare at the clock (or your phone) and stress about just how tired you’ll be the next day. Medical professionals call this kind of chronic sleeplessness “insomnia”. With insomnia, the downsides of not sleeping will then start to add up and can, after a while, have a negative affect on your general health.

And, maybe not surprisingly, “your overall health” includes the health of your hearing. That’s correct, insomnia can have an impact on your ability to hear. This isn’t exactly a cause-and-effect relationship, but that doesn’t mean there’s no link between hearing loss and insomnia.

Can your hearing be impacted by lack of sleep?

How could loss of sleep possibly impact your hearing? There’s a substantial amount of research that suggests insomnia, over time, can affect your cardiovascular system. Without the nightly renewing power of sleep, it’s more difficult for your blood to get everywhere it needs to be.

Anxiety and stress also increase with insomnia. Being stressed and anxious are not only mental states, they’re physiological states, as well.

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

When your circulatory system isn’t functioning properly, these hairs have a difficult time remaining healthy. In some instances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. And once that takes place, your hearing will be irrevocably damaged. This can lead to permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it persists.

Is the reverse true?

If insomnia can impact your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from getting a good night’s sleep? It’s certainly possible. Many people prefer a little background noise when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make the world really 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 effect.

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 every day because you won’t be wearing them while you sleep. Following other sleep-health tips can also help.

Some recommendations for a quality night’s sleep

  • Exercise regularly: You might go to bed with some excess energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Being active every day can be helpful.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after midday.: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you up at night if you drink it late enough. Soda also fits into this category.
  • For at least an hour, abstain from looking at screens: (Actually, the longer the better.) Screens tend to activate your brain
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before you go to bed: Your existing sleep cycle will be disturbed by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Find ways to relieve stress: It may not be possible to get rid of every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to unwind is crucial. Do something relaxing before you go to bed.
  • Try to avoid drinking 2 hours before you go to bed: Having to get up and go to the bathroom can begin the “wake up” process in your brain. So, sleeping through the night is much better.
  • Try not to utilize your bedroom for other activities other than sleeping: Try to minimize the amount of things you utilize your bedroom for. For example, don’t do work in your bedroom.

Be aware of 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 test 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.