We all know that quality sleep is a crucial part of staying healthy, both physically and mentally. Many factors can get in the way of sleeping well and cause insomnia, including, perhaps, a certain type of hearing loss.
Research on Insomnia and Hearing Loss
A study published in May of 2022 looked at the association between insomnia and sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL).
Much like the name suggests, SSNHL is a type of hearing loss that develops rapidly, either all at once or over the course of a few hours. It is a stressful and disorienting condition that requires immediate treatment to give you the best odds of reversing any hearing loss.
Researchers found that “Among the 3,155 individuals included in the study population, 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.”
Why Can Hearing Loss Worsen Insomnia?
Though more research needs to be done to fully understand the relationship between insomnia and SSNHL, there are some theories as to the association.
Mainly, it’s thought that sudden hearing loss can cause feelings of anxiety, depression and general emotional distress. Sleep and our emotions and mental health are closely intertwined. If you have high levels of stress in your life, it’s likely to affect your ability to sleep well.
This may hold true for people with different types of hearing loss as well, in addition to other ear symptoms like tinnitus.
Conditions Like Sleep Apnea May Increase Hearing Loss Risk
Insomnia is not the only sleep condition with a link to hearing loss. It’s possible that sleep apnea may increase your risk of developing sensorineural hearing loss as well. Unlike sudden hearing loss, this is a type of hearing loss that comes on gradually and is usually caused by damage to the hair cells of the inner ear.
Many factors can damage these cells, including poor blood flow. Sleep apnea can cause a disturbance of blood flow because it causes you to stop breathing throughout the night. It also can increase your risk of developing certain conditions like heart disease, which can also impact blood flow to the inner ear.
What To Do?
If hearing loss or tinnitus disrupts your sleep, make an appointment with an audiologist to be evaluated. If you experience sudden hearing loss, seek medical help immediately, as treatment is time sensitive.
A good night’s sleep coupled with better hearing can make it easier to perform well at work and give you more energy to enjoy a night out with your family at Roma Italian Bistro.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing experts, contact Advanced Audiology & Hearing Aids today.