Does Insomnia Affect Hearing Loss?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s no fun when you’re unable to sleep at night. And when it occurs on a regular basis, it’s particularly vexing. You lie awake tossing and turning, checking the time again and again, and stressing about how tired you will be tomorrow. Medical professionals call this type of chronic sleeplessness “insomnia”. With insomnia, the negatives of not sleeping will then start to add up and can, over time, have a negative impact on your general health.

And the health of your hearing, not surprisingly, is part of your overall health. That’s right, insomnia can have an impact on your ability to hear. 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 affect your hearing?

How could loss of sleep possibly impact your hearing? According to substantial research, your cardiovascular system can be affected by insomnia over a long time period. Without the nightly restorative power of sleep, it’s harder for your blood to get everywhere it needs to be.

Insomnia also means an increase in anxiety and stress. Feeling anxious and stressed will impact you in physiological ways as well as mentally.

So how is that related to hearing loss? There are little 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.

These little hairs have a difficult time staying healthy when there are circulatory problems. These hairs can, in some instances, be irreversibly damaged. And once that takes place, your hearing will be permanently damaged. This can cause permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it persists.

Is the opposite true?

If insomnia can impact your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from getting a good night’s sleep? Yes, it can! Hearing loss can make the environment very quiet, and some people like a little bit of noise when they sleep. This means that the quiet of hearing loss can in some cases 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 do you get a quality night’s sleep with 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 be helpful.

Some guidelines for a good night’s sleep

  • Stop drinking caffeine after noon: Even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to keep you up at night if you drink it late enough. This includes soda also.
  • Avoid drinking 2 hours before you go to bed: Each time you need to get up and go to the bathroom, you start the wake up process. So, sleeping through the night is better.
  • For at least 60 minutes, abstain from looking at screens: (Even longer if possible!) Your brain tends to be activated by looking at screens.
  • Try to de-stress as much as you can: 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.
  • Maintain your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to keep it that way. For instance, don’t work in your bedroom.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before you go to bed: Your existing sleep cycle will be interrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Get some exercise regularly: You may go to bed with some extra energy if you don’t get enough exercise. Getting enough exercise every day can really be helpful.

Care for your hearing health

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

Schedule 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.