Can Hearing Loss be Affected by Insomnia?

Man with hearing loss lying in bed suffering from insomnia

It’s no fun when you can’t sleep at night. And when it occurs on a regular basis, 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 occur, medical professionals tend to use the term “insomnia”. With insomnia, the drawbacks of not sleeping will then start to compound and can, after a while, have a negative affect on your overall health.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, “your overall health” includes the health of your hearing. Yup, your hearing can be negatively affected by insomnia! Though the relationship between hearing loss and insomnia may not be a cause-and-effect situation, there’s still a connection there.

Can lack of sleep affect your hearing?

What could the link between hearing loss and sleep be? There’s a considerable amount of research that indicates insomnia, over a long enough period, can affect your cardiovascular system. Without the nightly renewing power of sleep, it’s harder for your blood to get everywhere it needs to be.

Insomnia also means an increase in stress and anxiety. Feeling stressed and anxious 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 fragile little hairs called stereocilia. These delicate hairs vibrate when sound occurs and the information gets sent to your brain, which then converts those vibrations into sounds.

These tiny hairs have a hard time staying healthy when there are circulatory issues. These hairs can, in some cases, be permanently damaged. And once that happens, your hearing will be irrevocably damaged. This can result in permanent hearing loss, especially the longer it persists.

Is the opposite true?

If insomnia can affect your hearing health, can hearing loss stop you from getting a good night’s sleep? Yes, it can! Many people prefer a little background noise when they try to sleep and hearing loss can make the world very quiet. For individuals in this group, that amount of silence can make it really hard to get a good night’s sleep. Any kind of hearing loss stress (for example, if you’re worried about losing your hearing) can have a similar effect.

So how do you get a quality night’s sleep when you have hearing loss? Wearing your hearing aids every day can help lessen stress on your brain at night (when you aren’t wearing them). Adhering to other sleep-health tips can also be helpful.

Some guidelines for a good night’s sleep

  • Avoid drinking a couple of hours before bed: Needing to get up and go to the bathroom can initiate the “wake up” process in your brain. It’s better to sleep right through the night.
  • Find ways to reduce stress: Get away from work and do something relaxing before bed.
  • Steer clear of screens for at least 1 hour before bed: (Even longer if you can!) Screens have a tendency to activate your brain
  • Get some exercise regularly: Your body needs to keep moving, and if you aren’t moving, you could end up going to bed with some extra energy. Getting enough exercise daily can be really helpful.
  • Refrain from using alcohol before you go to bed: Your existing sleep cycle will be interrupted by drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after lunch.: Even if you drink decaf, it still has enough caffeine to give you trouble sleeping. This includes soda as well.
  • Maintain your bedroom for sleeping (mostly): Your bedroom is for sleeping in, so try to maintain that habit. For instance, don’t do work in your bedroom.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing

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

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.


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