Can Hearing Loss be Impacted by Insomnia?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s not fun when you’re unable to sleep at night. And when it happens on a regular basis, it’s especially vexing. 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. Medical professionals call this sort of persistent sleeplessness “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of chronic insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your overall health.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, “your general health” includes the health of your hearing. 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 lack of sleep impact your hearing?

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

Anxiety and stress also increase with insomnia. Feeling stressed and anxious will affect you in physiological ways as well as mentally.

So how is that relevant to hearing loss? There are tiny hairs inside of your ears called stereocilia. These fragile hairs vibrate when sound takes place and the information gets transmitted to your brain, which then converts those vibrations into sounds.

When your circulatory system is not working correctly, these hairs have a hard time remaining healthy. These hairs can, in some instances, be permanently damaged. And once that happens, your hearing will be permanently damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the outcome, 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 absolutely possible. Many people favor a little background sound when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make your environment very quiet. This means that the quiet of hearing loss can sometimes prevent normal sleeping. Any amount 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 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). It can also be helpful if you implement some other sleep-health tips.

Some guidelines for a good night’s sleep

  • Stop drinking caffeine after noon: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you awake at night if you drink it late enough. This includes soda too.
  • Before you go to bed, avoid drinking alcohol: Your existing sleep cycle will be interrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • For at least 1 hour, abstain from looking at screens: (Even longer if you can!) Your brain has a tendency to be stimulated by looking at screens.
  • Try not to utilize your bedroom for other activities besides sleeping: Try to limit the amount of things you use your bedroom for. For example, don’t work in your bedroom.
  • Get some exercise regularly: Your body needs to keep moving, and if you aren’t moving, you may end up going to bed with a bit of extra energy. Being active every day can be helpful.
  • Try to de-stress as much as you can: It might not be possible to get rid of every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to unwind is critical. Do something relaxing before bed.
  • 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 begin the “wake up” process in your brain. It’s better to sleep right through the night.

Care for your hearing health

Even if you have experienced some insomnia-related symptoms before, and have some hearing loss, your symptoms can still be controlled.

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.