Sleep is precious. 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.
And that’s understandable. The good news is, there’s a little something that can help: a hearing aid. It’s possible that these small devices can help you get a sounder night sleep, according to the latest surveys.
How Does Loss of Hearing Impact Sleep?
In recent days, you’ve noticed yourself tossing and turning more than usual, fighting fatigue all day regardless of how much sleep you get, and then having a hard time falling asleep at night (even though you’re exhausted). All of these issues began around 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. It’s well documented that people who have hearing loss frequently have a hard time falling asleep, but precisely why is not well recognized. Some theories have been put forward:
- You can lose sleep because of tinnitus which can cause humming, ringing, or thumping noises in your ears. (It can become a vicious cycle because lack of sleep can worsen your tinnitus symptoms).
- Hearing loss is linked to depression, and your sleep cycle can be disturbed by chemical imbalances as a result of depression. Because of this, falling asleep and staying asleep becomes more difficult.
- Your brain, when you have hearing loss, strains to get stimulus that isn’t there. If your brain is in overdrive attempting to hear while you’re trying to sleep, your entire cycle could be disrupted (it’s that “my brain won’t shut off” issue).
Can Your Sleep be Improved by Wearing Hearing Aids?
According to one study, 44% of people with hearing loss who don’t wear hearing aids documented being satisfied with their sleep in comparison to 59% sleep satisfaction among those who did wear a hearing aid. So are hearing aids a sleep aid or what?
Not really. If you don’t suffer from loss of hearing, a hearing aid can’t cure insomnia.
But if you have hearing loss related insomnia, hearing aids could help in numerous critical ways:
- Tinnitus: Hearing aids might be an effective treatment for that buzzing or ringing, depending on the nature of your tinnitus. This can help stop that vicious cycle and help you get some sleep.
- Strain: Your hearing aids will effectively lessen the burden on your brain. And when your brain isn’t constantly struggling to hear everything around you, it’ll be less likely to continue that practice when you’re trying to sleep.
- Isolation: Your not so likely to feel isolated and depressed if you can hook up with people in your social network when you’re out on the town. Relationships become less difficult with hearing aids (sleep cycle issues that cause “cabin fever” can also be decreased).
Getting Better Night Sleep Using Hearing Aids
In terms of sleep, the amount of hours is not the only consideration. How deep you sleep is as relevant as how many hours you sleep. Hearing aids can improve your ability to get a restful nights sleep because hearing loss without hearing aids can reduce deep sleep.
Wearing your hearing aids on the recommended daytime schedule will enhance your sleep but it’s significant to note that hearing aids aren’t typically meant to be used at night. They aren’t going to help you hear better when you’re in bed (for instance, you won’t hear your alarm clock better). And your hearing aids can actually wear out faster if you use them during the night. It’s using them during the day that helps you achieve better sleep.
Go to Bed!
Getting a restful night’s sleep is a precious thing. Adequate sleep can keep your immune system in fighting shape, reduce stress levels, and help you think more clearly. Healthy sleep habits have even been linked to lower risks for diabetes and heart disease.
When your sleep schedule is disturbed by your hearing loss, the problem becomes more than irritating, insomnia can often result in serious health problems. Luckily, most surveys document that people who use hearing aids have improved quality of sleep.