Hearing Health Blog

Man with hearing loss sleeping better because he has hearing aids.

Not having enough sleep can have a negative impact 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 hearing loss started making you lose sleep.

Understandably so. Luckily, there’s a little something that can help: a hearing aid. Based upon recent surveys and research, these small devices can probably help you sleep better.

How is Sleep Affected by Hearing Loss?

Despite the fact that you feel fatigued all day and are exhausted by bedtime, you still toss and turn and have a hard time falling asleep. All of these issues began about the same time you also began to notice that your mobile phone, radio, and television were becoming hard to hear.

Come to find out, you’re not imagining things. There is a well-documented link between loss of hearing and insomnia, even if the precise sources aren’t exactly clear. There are, naturally, a handful of theories:

  • Loss of hearing is connected to depression, and depression can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain that disturb your sleep cycle. 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 then can cause stronger insomnia, it’s a vicious cycle).
  • As you develop loss of hearing, your brain starts straining, it’s searching for stimulus from your ears where there isn’t. If your brain is in high gear attempting to hear while you’re drifting off to sleep, your whole cycle could be disrupted (it’s that “my brain won’t shut off” problem).

Can Your Sleep be Helped by Wearing Hearing Aids?

According to one study, 59% of individuals who were hearing aid users noted feeling fulfilled with their sleep, compared to a 44% satisfaction rate in people who don’t wear hearing aids. So are hearing aids a sleep aid or what?

Not really. If you don’t have loss of hearing, a hearing aid can’t cure insomnia.

But if you have hearing loss related insomnia, hearing aids might help in numerous important ways:

  • Tinnitus: Hearing aids might be an effective treatment for that buzzing or ringing, depending on the nature of your tinnitus. This can help you get some sleep by short circuiting that vicious cycle.
  • Strain: Your hearing aids will effectively reduce the demand on your brain. And when your brain isn’t constantly straining to hear everything around you, it won’t be as likely to keep straining while you’re trying to sleep.
  • Isolation: If you’re out and about, connecting with the people in your social sphere, you’re less likely to feel depressed and isolated. Relationships are less difficult when you use hearing aids (sleep cycle problems that cause “cabin fever” can also be reduced).

Using Hearing Aids to Get a Better Quality Sleep

It isn’t just how many hours you sleep that’s important here. How deep you sleep is as important as the number of hours. Loss of hearing can work against that deep sleep, and hearing aids, as a result, can improve your ability to get restful sleep.

It’s important to note that even though they’ll help improve your sleep, the majority of hearing aids are not designated to be used overnight. When you’re sleeping they aren’t going to help you hear better (you won’t be able to hear your alarm clock better, for instance). And, after a while, wearing your hearing aids at night can diminish their effectiveness. 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 decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes have also been connected to balanced sleep habits.

When your hearing loss begins to affect your sleep schedule, the issue becomes more than irritating, insomnia can frequently cause serious health problems. Luckily, most surveys report that people who use hearing aids have better quality of sleep.

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