Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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 occurs frequnetly, it’s particularly vexing. You toss and turn and probably stare at the clock (or your phone) and worry about just how tired you’ll be the next day. When these types of sleepless nights persistently happen, medical professionals tend to use the term “insomnia”. Over time, the effects of persistent insomnia will compound, negatively impacting your overall health.

And the health of your hearing, not surprisingly, is part of your general health. Yup, your hearing can be negatively impacted by insomnia! This isn’t necessarily 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 significant research, your cardiovascular system can be affected by insomnia over a long period of time. Without the nightly regenerative power of sleep, it’s more difficult for your blood to get everywhere it needs to be.

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

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

These little hairs have a difficult time remaining healthy when there are circulatory problems. In some situations, poor circulation can damage these hairs, permanently. And once that happens, your hearing will be permanently damaged. Permanent hearing loss can be the outcome, and the longer the circulation issues persist, the worse the damage will be.

Is the opposite true?

If insomnia can affect your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from sleeping? Yes, it can! Hearing loss can make the environment very quiet, and some people like a little bit of sound when they sleep. For individuals in this group, that amount of silence can make it very hard to get a good night’s sleep. Any kind of hearing loss anxiety (for instance, if you’re stressed about losing your hearing) can have a similar impact.

So how can you get a quality night’s sleep with hearing loss? Stress on your brain can be reduced by wearing your hearing aids every day because you won’t be wearing them at night. Following other sleep-health tips can also be helpful.

Some recommendations for a quality night’s sleep

  • Quit drinking caffeine after noon: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you problems sleeping. This includes soda also.
  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to maintain that habit. For instance, don’t work in your bedroom.
  • Try to de-stress as much as possible: Get away from work and do something relaxing before bed.
  • Try to avoid drinking 2 hours before you go to bed: Needing to get up and go to the bathroom can begin the “wake up” process in your brain. It’s much better to sleep right through the night.
  • Steer clear of screens for at least an hour before going to bed: (Actually, the longer the better.) Screens tend to stimulate your brain
  • Refrain from using alcohol before you go to bed: Your existing sleep cycle will be disturbed by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Exercise regularly: Your body needs to move, and if you aren’t moving, you could end up going to bed with a bit of excess energy. Being active every day can help.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing

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

Make an appointment for a hearing exam today!

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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.
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