Not getting enough sleep can have a damaging effect on your health and well being. There’s an unpleasant feeling to getting up groggy because you slept less than seven to eight hours that even several cups of coffee can’t change. So you were aghast when your loss of hearing started to cause you to lose sleep.
Justifiably so. Thankfully, there’s a little something that can help: a hearing aid. Based upon recent surveys and research, these small devices can likely help you sleep sounder.
How is Sleep Affected by Hearing Loss?
In recent days, you’ve noticed yourself counting sheep more than normal, dealing with fatigue all day no matter how much sleep you get, and then having a difficult time falling asleep at night (even though you’re exhausted). All of these problems started about the same time you also began to notice that your mobile phone, radio, and television were becoming hard to hear.
Turns out, you’re not imagining it. 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:
- Your brain, when you have loss of hearing, strains to get input that isn’t there. If your brain is in high gear trying to hear while you’re trying to sleep, your entire cycle could be disrupted (it’s that “my brain won’t shut off” problem).
- Loss of hearing is related to depression, and depression can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain that disrupt your sleep cycle. This makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- You can be kept awake by tinnitus which can cause humming, ringing, or thumping noises in your ears. (It can become a vicious cycle because loss of sleep can worsen your tinnitus symptoms).
Can Your Sleep be Improved by Using Hearing Aids?
According to one study, 59% of people who were hearing aid users described feeling satisfied 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?
Not exactly. If your hearing is completely normal, wearing hearing aids won’t cure your insomnia.
But if you are suffering from hearing loss, your hearing aids can address a number of concerns that may be worsening your insomnia:
- Isolation: If you’re out and about, interacting with the people in your social sphere, you’re less likely to feel isolated and depressed. Relationships get easier with hearing aids (this can also reduce “cabin fever”-related sleep cycle issues).
- Strain: The burden on your brain will effectively reduced by using hearing aids. And when your brain isn’t constantly straining to hear everything around you, it won’t be as likely to keep straining when you’re trying to sleep.
- Tinnitus: Dependent on the nature and cause of your tinnitus, hearing aids may provide a practical method of treating that ringing and buzzing. This can help stop that vicious cycle and help you get to sleep.
Wearing Hearing Aids to Achieve a Better Night Sleep
In terms of sleep, the amount of hours is not the only factor to consider. In order for your sleep to be really refreshing, it’s important that you achieve a certain level to your z’s. Loss of hearing can reduce that deep sleep, and hearing aids, therefore, can improve your ability to get restful sleep.
Wearing your hearing aids on the suggested daytime schedule will benefit your sleep but it’s significant to note that hearing aids aren’t generally designed to be used while you sleep. When you’re sleeping they won’t help you hear better (you won’t be capable of hearing your alarm clock more clearly, for example). And your hearing aids can definitely wear out quicker if you wear them during the night. You get better sleep if you use them during the day.
Go to Bed!
Sleep is precious. Ample sleep can keep your immune system in fighting shape, lessen stress levels, and help you think more clearly. A reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes have also been linked to balanced sleep habits.
When your sleep schedule is disrupted by your loss of hearing, the issue becomes more than annoying, insomnia can often lead to serious health concerns. Fortunately, people report having better quality sleep with hearing aids.