Not having enough sleep can have a negative effect on your health and well being. There’s an unpleasant feeling to getting up groggy because you got less than seven to eight hours sleep that even several cups of coffee can’t help. So you were aghast when your hearing loss started to make you lose sleep.
And that’s understandable. The good news is, there’s a little something that can be of assistance: a hearing aid. It’s possible that these small devices can help you get a sounder night sleep, according to recent surveys.
How is Sleep Affected by Loss of Hearing?
Despite the fact that you feel tired all day and are completely drained by bedtime, you still toss and turn and have a hard time falling asleep. All of these problems started around the same time you also began to notice that your radio, television, and mobile phone were becoming hard to hear.
It’s not your imagination as it turns out. It’s well documented that people who have loss of hearing frequently have a hard time falling asleep, but exactly why is not well understood. Some theories have been put forward:
- Your brain, when you have loss of hearing, strains to get input that isn’t there. If your brain is in overdrive trying to hear while you’re drifting off to sleep, your overall cycle could be thrown off (it’s that “my brain won’t shut off” problem).
- Hearing loss is connected to depression, and your sleep cycle can be interrupted by chemical imbalances caused by depression. This makes it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- You can lose sleep because of tinnitus which can cause humming, ringing, or thumping sounds in your ears. (Lack of sleep can also cause your tinnitus to get worse, which can then cause stronger insomnia, it’s a vicious cycle).
Can Your Sleep be Helped by Using Hearing Aids?
According to one study, 44% of people with hearing loss who don’t use hearing aids documented being satisfied with their sleep compared to 59% sleep satisfaction from those who did wear a hearing aid. So are hearing aids a sleep aid or what?
Not really. If your hearing is totally normal, wearing hearing aids isn’t going to cure your insomnia.
But if you are suffering from loss of hearing, your hearing aids can manage a number of concerns that may be contributing to your insomnia:
- Strain: Your hearing aids will essentially reduce the burden on your brain. And when your brain isn’t always straining to hear everything around you, it’ll be less likely to keep straining when you’re trying to sleep.
- Tinnitus: Hearing aids may be an effective treatment for that buzzing or ringing, depending on the nature of your tinnitus. This can help stop that vicious cycle and help you get some sleep.
- Isolation: Your less likely to feel isolated and depressed if you can hook up with people in your social network when you’re out on the town. Hearing aids make maintaining relationships less difficult (this can also decrease “cabin fever”-associated sleep cycle issues).
Using Hearing Aids to Get a Better Night Sleep
It’s not just the number of hours that’s relevant here. How deep you sleep is as essential as how many hours you sleep. Hearing loss can prevent that deep sleep, and hearing aids, as a result, can improve your ability to get restful sleep.
Wearing your hearing aids on the suggested daytime schedule will benefit your sleep but it’s important to mention that hearing aids are not typically intended to be used while you sleep. When you’re sleeping they won’t help your hearing (you won’t be capable of hearing your alarm clock more clearly, for example). And your hearing aids can actually wear out quicker if you wear them during the night. It’s wearing them during the day that helps you achieve better sleep.
Go to Bed!
Sleep is precious. Adequate sleep can keep your immune system in good condition, reduce stress levels, and help you think more clearly. A reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease have also been linked to healthy sleep habits.
When your sleep schedule is disturbed by your loss of hearing, the problem becomes more than annoying, insomnia can frequently become a real health issue. Fortunately, people document having better quality sleep with hearing aids.