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How Insomnia Affects Your Hearing

Sleep is the foundation of physical health and mental well-being. When the body and mind are not properly rested the results are feelings of sluggishness and exhaustion. These feelings are common for those who suffer from insomnia. Risky side effects such as depression, cardiovascular problems, stroke, diabetes, and obesity are all common. 

Many people don’t realize that insomnia has an effect on hearing health and could lead to hearing loss and aggravated tinnitus. Read on to understand how insomnia affects your hearing. 

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep or causes one to wake up early and not be able to fall back to sleep. This sleep disorder causes sufferers to feel tired after waking up, lose energy, affect mood, and impact health. Many adults experience acute, short-term insomnia. It’s usually related to stress or trauma and lasts for days or weeks. Those suffering from long-term, chronic insomnia experience it for a month or more. Chronic insomnia could be a primary disorder or it could be linked to another medical condition. 

Insomnia is caused by physical and psychological factors. These common factors include disruptions in circadian rhythm, psychological disorders, medical conditions, and hormones. Treating insomnia means addressing the underlying cause and treating it with medical and non-pharmacological treatments. 

Respacare Sleep Center provides in-home sleep testing as part of its insomnia treatment. Biology, unhealthy sleep habits, psychiatric and medical conditions can all cause insomnia. The specialists at Respacare work with patients to identify the cause of insomnia and development treatment to achieve healthy sleep.  

Practicing good sleep hygiene can improve one’s quality of life. Sticking to a sleep schedule, having a bedtime ritual, exercising daily, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol are all simple practices that can improve sleep disruptions. 

Poor Cardiovascular Health 

Lack of sleep and reduced hearing is linked by the cardiovascular system. Insufficient sleep leads to poor blood circulation throughout the body. Strong blood flow is necessary for the functioning of the tiny hair cells in the ears. They rely on strong blood flow to detect sound waves and communicate with the brain. Damage to the hair cells will permanently damage hearing. 

Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. Those who experience insufficient sleep are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases and stroke. These risk factors are increased regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits. 

Link to Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea affects nearly 40 million Americans. Sufferers stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. A dangerous symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring, which can be loud enough to damage hearing. When someone stops breathing there is reduced blood flow to the inner ear. Over time this can result in cochlear inflammation and contribute to hearing loss. 

The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include: loud snoring, stopped breathing, gasping for air, dry mouth, morning headaches, insomnia, daytime drowsiness, irritability, and trouble focusing. 

Impact on Tinnitus 

Insomnia can also worsen the symptoms of tinnitus, commonly described as ringing in the ears. Insomnia is known to increase the perceived severity of tinnitus. Sufferers have a lessened tolerance of the condition and experience a functional and emotional toll. The noise of tinnitus makes it difficult to sleep and sleep deprivation leads to hearing noises. The two conditions go hand in hand which is why seeking treatment is important. 

While there is no cure for tinnitus, the symptoms can be managed. Specialists can help patients deliver coping techniques to lessen symptoms and improve daily life. Sound Relief Hearing Center is a Scottsdale audiologist that specializes in tinnitus treatment using innovative technologies. 

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