We all know how important it is to our overall health to get quality sleep each night. Unfortunately, many factors can prevent us from getting the rest we need. Research has indicated that one of those factors might be hearing loss.
Research on Hearing Loss and Sleep Quality
Several studies have found an association between hearing loss and poor sleep quality.
A 2011 study found that male participants with hearing loss and tinnitus were more likely to experience sleep impairments and insomnia.
A more recent study published in 2022 compared insomnia levels in people with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) against those with normal hearing.
Much as the name suggests, sudden hearing loss is a form of hearing loss that comes on rapidly. Results from the study showed that “the overall incidence of insomnia during the 11-year follow-up was 1.4-fold higher in the SSNHL group than in the non-SSNHL group.”
How Can Hearing Loss Increase Your Risk of Insomnia
At first, the association between hearing loss and insomnia might seem unclear. If anything, you might assume hearing loss could make it easier to sleep because the condition makes it less likely that you’d be woken up by noises at night. However, there are two main reasons that may be behind the link.
The first is that hearing loss can increase levels of stress and anxiety, perhaps especially in the case of sudden hearing loss since it comes on so rapidly. You might experience increased worries about your health or wonder if your hearing loss will continue to get worse. Additionally, both your work and home life might become more stressful due to increased difficulty in understanding and communicating with others. Stress has long been known to increase insomnia and other sleep problems.
The second potential reason for the link is that many people with hearing loss also experience tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears. Tinnitus can make it harder to sleep because the noise can be irritating and seem amplified in the quiet of the night.
Can Treating Hearing Loss Help with Sleep?
Treating your hearing loss may help improve your sleep quality by reducing stress and helping to manage your tinnitus symptoms.
If you experience sudden hearing loss, seek immediate treatment as it increases your chances of being able to regain your hearing.
If your hearing loss is permanent, your audiologist will discuss treatment options, the most common of which is hearing aids. Hearing aids make navigating your day easier and give you increased confidence in your communication abilities. They can also help manage your tinnitus. This should help decrease stress levels and may make sleeping easier.
To learn more about the many other benefits of hearing aids or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call Topeka Ear Nose & Throat today.