Does Insomnia Affect Hearing Loss?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights are no fun. Especially when it happens frequently. You lie awake tossing and turning, looking at the time again and again, and stressing about how exhausted you will be tomorrow. Medical professionals call this kind of chronic sleeplessness “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of chronic insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your general health.

And the health of your hearing, not unexpectedly, is part of your overall health. Yup, your hearing can be negatively affected by insomnia! This isn’t generally 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 affect your hearing? According to significant research, your cardiovascular system can be impacted by insomnia over a long time period. Without the nightly renewing power of sleep, it’s more difficult 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 is that relevant to hearing loss? Your ears work because they’re filled with delicate little hairs known as stereocilia. When sound waves vibrate these tiny hairs, signals are transmitted to your brain which translates these signals into sound.

When your circulatory system is not functioning properly, these hairs have a hard time remaining healthy. These hairs can, in some instances, be irreversibly damaged. And once that takes place, your hearing will be permanently damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the consequences, and the longer the circulation problems continue, the worse the damage will be.

Is the opposite true?

Is it possible for hearing loss to cause you to lose sleep? It’s absolutely possible. Hearing loss can make the environment very quiet, and some individuals like a little bit of sound when they sleep. For people in this category, that amount of quiet can make it very hard to get a quality night’s sleep. Any kind of hearing loss anxiety (for instance, if you’re worried about losing your hearing) can have a similar effect.

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

How to get a quality night’s sleep

  • Refrain from using alcohol before you go to bed: Your natural sleep cycle will be interrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Find ways to relieve stress: It might not be possible to eliminate every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is essential. Do something relaxing before bed.
  • Stop drinking caffeine after midday: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you problems sleeping. Soda also fits into this category.
  • Avoid drinking liquids 2 hours before you go to bed: Needing to get up and go to the bathroom can start the “wake up” process in your brain. So, sleeping through the night is better.
  • 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 very good plan.
  • Avoid screens for at least an hour before going to bed: (Actually, the longer the better.) Your brain tends to be activated by looking at screens.
  • Get some exercise regularly: You could go to bed with some excess energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Being active every day can be helpful.

Care for your hearing health

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.