Hearing Loss and Sleep Disorders

Hearing Loss and Sleep Disorders

As people age, they tend to experience hearing issues and hearing loss which is commonly considered as a result of age. But, did you know that hearing loss could also be a result of a sleep disorder?

It may sound surprising but, sleep has a huge impact on our health in general, including hearing ability. In fact, there’s a strong link between insomnia and hearing problems. To learn how they are both connected and how to manage them successfully, just continue reading this article.

Hearing Loss Causes

As we’ve already mentioned, natural aging isn’t the only cause of hearing loss even though it accounts for the majority of this issue. According to statistics, 2% of adults aged 45 to 54, about one-quarter of adults aged 55 to 64, and half of the elderly over 76 have disabling hearing loss.

Other common hearing loss causes include:

Inner Ear Damage

Anything from working in a loud environment, listening to loud music (especially with earbuds), trauma, to birth defects can cause damage to the inner ear and lead to hearing loss issues as we age.

Ear Infections

Ear infections may be caused by viruses, bacteria, and fluid buildup both in children and adults. Another common cause of ear infections is dirty pool water which is known as the swimmer’s ear. Luckily, both ear infections and hearing loss caused by infections can be easily treated.

Ear Wax Buildup

Although ear wax protects our ears and bodies from infection, if it accumulates too much, it can block the eardrum and thus impede your hearing ability. But, similarly to ear infection, it is easily treatable so it is not such a big deal.

Lack of Sleep

Unfortunately, the connection between hearing loss and sleep deprivation has come to light quite recently. New research has now proven that lack of sleep can influence the hearing ability and accelerate hearing loss.

How Can Sleep Affect Hearing Loss?

Sleep Deprivation and Mental Fatigue

The link between lack of sleep and reduced cognitive function is strong. This is quite logical since sleep is the way our bodies restore themselves and enable proper function. In case of sleep deprivation, your body cannot perform at its fullest and you tend to make more mistakes and have poor judgment.

And, hearing requires mental power since to understand speech your brain must go through and filter background sounds and then process the information heard. Hence, we can conclude that when mental fatigue occurs you are likely to experience hearing issues or worsen an existing hearing loss condition.

Sleep Deprivation and Circulation

To function properly, our circulatory system also requires good sleep quality and quantity. According to a study conducted a year ago, chronic sleep disorders or insomnia may cause hypocretin reduction, which is a very important hormone for sleep cycle regulation.

Another key finding was that sleep-deprived mice have developed plaques in the arteries. And, as we all know, plaque leads to poor circulation which is also linked to hearing loss. The reason for this is that the cochlea, a part of the inner ear crucial for hearing and processing sounds, needs proper circulation in order to function.

The bottom line, the link between sleep and hearing loss is real. Fortunately, by becoming aware of this connection and importance you can try to get enough sleep and thus protect against a hearing loss condition.