Can Hearing Loss be Affected by Insomnia?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s no fun when you’re unable to sleep at night. Particularly when it occurs frequently. You toss and turn and maybe stare at the clock (or your phone) and worry about just how fatigued you’ll be the next day. Medical professionals call this sort of persistent sleeplessness “insomnia”. With insomnia, the downsides of not sleeping will then begin to compound and can, after a while, have a negative impact on your general health.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, “your general health” includes the health of your hearing. That’s right, insomnia can have an impact on your ability to hear. This isn’t necessarily 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 substantial research, your cardiovascular system can be influenced 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 don’t get the regenerative power of a good night’s sleep.

Insomnia also means an increase in stress and anxiety. Being stressed and anxious aren’t only mental states, they’re physiological states, too.

So how is that relevant to hearing loss? Your ears work because they’re filled with fragile little hairs called stereocilia. These fragile hairs vibrate when sound happens 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 difficult time remaining healthy. In some circumstances, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. Damage of this type 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? Yes, it can! Hearing loss can make the world really quiet, and some people like a little bit of sound when they sleep. For individuals in this group, that amount of quiet can make it very difficult to get a quality night’s sleep. Another way that hearing loss could cost you some sleep is if you find yourself anxious about losing your hearing.

So how can you get a good 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.

How to get a good night’s sleep

  • Try not to use your bedroom for other activities besides sleeping: Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to keep it that way. For instance, don’t work in your bedroom.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after lunch.: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you up at night if you drink it late enough. This includes soda too.
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol before you go to bed: This will simply disrupt your natural sleep cycle.
  • Find ways to reduce stress: It may not be possible to remove every stressor from your life, but giving yourself time to de-stress is essential. Do something relaxing before you go to bed.
  • For at least 2 hours before bed, try to abstain from liquids: Having to get up and go to the bathroom can initiate the “wake up” process in your brain. So, sleeping through the night is much better.
  • Get some exercise regularly: You might go to bed with some extra energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Getting enough exercise daily will be really helpful.
  • For at least 1 hour, abstain from looking at screens: (Even longer if possible!) Screens tend to activate your brain

Take care of your hearing health

You can still manage your symptoms even if you have hearing loss along with some insomnia.

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.