Not having enough sleep can have a damaging effect on your health and well being. There’s a disagreeable feeling to getting up groggy because you slept less than seven to eight hours that even several cups of coffee can’t help. So when your hearing loss began causing insomnia, you were aghast.
Justifiably so. But there’s a little something that can help, luckily: a hearing aid. According to the most recent surveys and research, these tiny devices can probably help you sleep better.
How is Sleep Impacted by Loss of Hearing?
In recent days, you’ve noticed yourself tossing and turning more than normal, battling fatigue all day regardless of how much sleep you get, and then having a difficult time falling asleep at night (despite your exhaustion). All of these problems started about the same time you also began to notice that your mobile phone, radio, and television were becoming difficult to hear.
Come to find out, you’re not imagining things. There is a well-documented relationship between loss of hearing and insomnia, even if the exact sources aren’t precisely clear. Some theories have been put forward:
- Tinnitus can make you hear thumping, humming, and ringing and that noise can keep you awake at night. (Lack of sleep can also make your tinnitus worse, which can then cause stronger insomnia, it’s a vicious cycle).
- 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 entire cycle could be thrown off (It’s the common problem of not being able to get your brain to stop).
- Hearing loss is related to depression, and your sleep cycle can be disturbed by chemical imbalances caused by depression. Because of this, falling asleep and staying asleep becomes more difficult.
Can Your Sleep be Helped by Wearing Hearing Aids?
According to one study, 59% of individuals who were hearing aid users described feeling content with their sleep, compared to a 44% satisfaction rate in people who don’t use hearing aids. So are hearing aids a sleep aid or what?
well, not quite. If your hearing is perfectly normal, wearing hearing aids won’t cure your insomnia.
But if you are suffering from loss of hearing, your hearing aids can address a number of issues that might be worsening your insomnia:
- Strain: Your hearing aids will effectively reduce the strain on your brain. And when your brain isn’t always struggling to hear everything around you, it won’t be as likely to continue that practice while you’re trying to sleep.
- Isolation: If you’re out on the town, hooking up with the people in your social group, you’re less likely to feel depressed and isolated. Hearing aids make maintaining relationships less difficult (this can also diminish “cabin fever”-related sleep cycle issues).
- Tinnitus: Hearing aids may be an effective treatment for that ringing or buzzing, depending on the nature of your tinnitus. This can help stop that vicious cycle and help you get some sleep.
Getting Better Quality Sleep With Hearing Aids
It isn’t just the number of hours that’s significant here. Depth of sleep is as important as the number of hours. Hearing loss can reduce that deep sleep, and hearing aids, therefore, can increase your ability to reach restful sleep.
It’s worthwhile to note that while they’ll help improve your sleep, most hearing aids are not designated to be worn overnight. They don’t help you hear better when you’re in bed (you won’t be able to hear your alarm clock more clearly, for instance). And your hearing aids can actually wear out quicker if you use them during the night. It’s using them during the day that helps you achieve better sleep.
Go to Bed!
Sleep is valuable. Your stress level, your immune system, and your ability to think clearly will all be enhanced by sufficient sleep. A reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes have also been linked to healthy sleep habits.
When your sleep schedule is disrupted by your loss of hearing, the issue becomes more than aggravating, insomnia can often lead to serious health problems. Fortunately, most surveys report that people who use hearing aids have better quality of sleep.