Sleep is critical. There’s a disagreeable feeling to getting up groggy because you got less than seven to eight hours sleep that even several cups of coffee can’t help. So you were aghast when your loss of hearing started making you lose sleep.
Justifiably so. But there’s a little something that can be of assistance, thankfully: a hearing aid. Based upon the newest surveys and research, these little devices can most likely help you sleep better.
How is Sleep Affected by Hearing Loss?
In recent days, you’ve noticed yourself counting sheep more than normal, dealing with fatigue all day regardless of how much sleep you get, and then having a difficult time falling asleep at night (despite your exhaustion). All of these problems started about the same time you also began to notice that your radio, television, and mobile phone 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 exact sources aren’t precisely clear. Some theories have been put forward:
- Loss of hearing is related to depression, and depression can result in chemical imbalances in the brain that interrupt your sleep cycle. This makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Your brain, when you have hearing loss, strains to get input that isn’t there. If your brain is in high gear trying to hear while you’re drifting off to sleep, your whole cycle could be thrown off (It’s the common issue of not being able to get your brain to turn off).
- You can lose sleep because of tinnitus which can cause ringing, thumping, or humming sounds in your ears. (It can become a vicious cycle because loss of sleep can worsen your tinnitus symptoms).
Can Your Sleep be Helped by Using Hearing Aids?
According to one study, 44% of individuals with hearing loss who don’t wear hearing aids reported being satisfied with their sleep compared to 59% sleep satisfaction from those who did use a hearing aid. So does that imply it’s safe to suppose hearing assistance devices are also a type of sleep aid?
Not really. If your hearing is completely healthy, using hearing aids won’t cure your insomnia.
But if you have hearing loss related insomnia, hearing aids might help in multiple critical ways:
- Tinnitus: Dependent on the nature and cause of your tinnitus, hearing aids might provide a practical method of managing that buzzing and ringing. This can assist you to get to sleep by short circuiting that vicious cycle.
- Isolation: Your less likely to feel isolated and depressed if you can connect with people in your social circle when you’re out and about. Relationships become less difficult with hearing aids (this can also diminish “cabin fever”-related sleep cycle troubles).
- Strain: The strain on your brain will essentially diminished by using hearing aids. And when your brain isn’t constantly struggling to hear everything around you, it’ll be less likely to keep straining when you’re trying to sleep.
Using Hearing Aids to Get a Better Quality Sleep
It’s not just how many hours you sleep that’s important here. Depth of sleep is as essential as the number of hours. Hearing loss can prevent that deep sleep, and hearing aids, as a result, can enhance your ability to enjoy restful sleep.
Wearing your hearing aids on the recommended daytime schedule will improve your sleep but it’s important to mention that hearing aids are not typically intended to be used at night. They don’t help you hear better when you’re in bed (you won’t be able to hear your alarm clock more clearly, for example). And your hearing aids can actually wear out quicker if you wear them during the night. It’s wearing them during the day that helps you achieve deeper sleep.
Go to Bed!
Sleep is precious. Your stress level, your immune system, and your ability to think clearly will all be benefited by ample sleep. A decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes have also been linked to healthy sleep habits.
When your sleep schedule is disturbed by your hearing loss, it’s not only a small irritation, insomnia can often cause serious health problems. Luckily, most surveys document that people who use hearing aids have better quality of sleep.