Does Insomnia Affect Hearing Loss?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

Sleepless nights are no fun. Especially when it occurs frequently. You toss and turn and maybe stare at the clock (or your phone) and worry about just how tired you’ll be the next day. When these kinds of sleepless nights routinely occur, medical professionals tend to use the label “insomnia”. With insomnia, the negatives of not sleeping will then begin to add up and can, over time, have a negative impact on your overall health.

And, maybe not surprisingly, “your general health” includes your hearing health. That’s right, insomnia can have an impact on your ability to hear. Though the relationship between hearing loss and insomnia might not be a cause-and-effect situation, there’s still a link there.

Can your hearing be affected by lack of sleep?

How could loss of sleep possibly impact your hearing? There’s a substantial amount of research that suggests insomnia, over a long enough period, can impact your cardiovascular system. It becomes more difficult for your blood to circulate into all of the extremities of your body when you don’t get the regenerative power of a good night’s sleep.

Anxiety and stress also increase when you have insomnia. Being stressed and anxious aren’t only states of mind, they’re physiological states, too.

So how is that connected to hearing loss? There are tiny hairs inside of your ears called stereocilia. These fragile 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 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 result in 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 absolutely possible. Many people prefer a little background noise when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make your environment really quiet. For individuals in this category, that amount of silence can make it really hard to get a good night’s sleep. Any amount of hearing loss anxiety (for example, if you’re worried about losing your hearing) can have a similar impact.

So how do you get a good night’s sleep with hearing loss? Stress on your brain can be decreased by wearing your hearing aids during the day because you won’t be wearing them at night. Adhering to other sleep-health tips can also help.

Some guidelines for a good night’s sleep

  • Try to de-stress as much as possible: It might not be possible to eliminate every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is crucial. Do something relaxing before bed.
  • Try not to use your bedroom for other activities other than sleeping: Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to keep it that way. Working in your bedroom is not a great plan.
  • 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 help.
  • Avoid screens for at least 1 hour before bed: (Even longer if you can!) Your brain tends to be stimulated by looking at screens.
  • Quit drinking caffeine after midday: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you awake at night if you drink at night. Soda also fits into this category.
  • For at least a couple of hours before you go to bed, try to abstain from liquids: Every time you need to get up and go to the bathroom, you initiate the wake up process. It’s better to sleep right through the night.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before you go to bed: This will simply interrupt your existing sleep cycle.

Care for your hearing health

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

If you’re worried about your hearing, set up an appointment with us 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.