Sleep is critical. If you don’t get a full, relaxing seven to eight hours of sleep, you get up groggy and cranky, an undesirable feeling that only three cups of coffee can keep at bay. So when your hearing loss began causing insomnia, you were aghast.
Justifiably so. But there’s a little something that can be of assistance, luckily: a hearing aid. Based upon the latest surveys and research, these small devices can most likely help you sleep better.
How is Sleep Impacted by Loss of Hearing?
In recent days, you’ve noticed yourself counting sheep more than normal, battling 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 issues began about the same time you also started to notice that your mobile phone, radio, and television were becoming hard to hear.
Turns out, you’re not imagining it. It’s well documented that individuals who have loss of hearing often have a hard time falling asleep, but exactly why is not well recognized. Some theories have been put forward:
- Loss of hearing is linked to depression, and depression can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain that disturb your sleep cycle. As a result of this, falling asleep and staying asleep becomes harder.
- Your brain, when you have loss of hearing, strains to get stimulus that isn’t there. Your entire cycle could be thrown off if your brain is working overtime attempting to hear (it’s that “my brain won’t shut off” problem).
- You can lose sleep because of tinnitus which can cause ringing, thumping, or humming sounds in your ears. (Lack of sleep can also make your tinnitus worse, which can then cause stronger insomnia, it’s a vicious cycle).
Can Hearing Aids Improve Your Sleep?
According to one study, 44% of people with hearing loss who don’t wear hearing aids reported being satisfied with their sleep compared to 59% sleep satisfaction from those who did wear a hearing aid. So does that imply it’s safe to presume hearing aids are also a type of sleep aid?
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 target several issues that may be contributing to your insomnia:
- Isolation: If you’re out on the town, hooking up with the people in your social sphere, you’re not as likely to feel depressed and isolated. Relationships become less difficult with hearing aids (this can also decrease “cabin fever”-associated sleep cycle problems).
- Tinnitus: Depending on the cause and nature of your tinnitus, hearing aids may provide an effective means of managing that buzzing and ringing. This can help stop that vicious cycle and help you get to sleep.
- Strain: Your hearing aids will essentially reduce the burden on your brain. And when your brain isn’t continuously straining to hear everything around you, it won’t be as likely to keep straining when you’re trying to sleep.
Wearing Hearing Aids to Get a Better Quality Sleep
With regards to sleep, how many hours isn’t the only consideration. How deep you sleep is as important as the number of hours. Hearing aids can improve your ability to attain a restful nights sleep because hearing loss without hearing aids can prevent deep sleep.
It’s important to note that while they’ll help benefit your sleep, the majority of hearing aids are not supposed to be used at night. They don’t help you hear better when you’re in bed (for instance, you won’t hear your alarm clock better). 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 valuable. Adequate sleep can keep your immune system in good condition, reduce stress levels, and help you think more clearly. A reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes have also been linked to healthy sleep habits.
When your loss of hearing begins to interrupt your sleep schedule, it’s not only a small irritation, insomnia can often become a serious health concern. Luckily, people report having better quality sleep when they use hearing aids.