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The Connection Between Sleep and Hearing Health

Find out why a good night’s sleep is important for your hearing.

The connection between sleep and hearing health largely has to do with cardiovascular health, and blood flow to the ears.It’s National Sleep Awareness Week, so there’s no better time explore the connection between sleep and your hearing health! Getting enough quality sleep can impact many aspects of our health and wellbeing, including our hearing. Let’s dig into the connection between sleep and hearing health and why your ears might appreciate a little more sleep!

We’ll be looking at:

  1. Sleep, blood flow, and ear health
  2. Hearing and sleep apnea
  3. Sleep and tinnitus
  4. Tips to improve your sleep

Read below to learn all about the connection between sleep and hearing health.

Sleep, blood flow, and ear health 
When we’re asleep, it’s a chance for our body to relax from stressors and recharge. Circulation and heart health are two health metrics tied to sleep — getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted shut-eye can keep our arteries suppled and promote good blood flow. So, how does this relate to hearing health? Well, the ears rely on a constant supply of oxygenated blood to the vessels in the inner ear. Poor circulation can result in inadequate oxygen to the delicate inner ear and potentially damage your hearing.

Tip: since circulation is linked to cardiovascular health, read some heart health tips here!

Hearing and sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that can affect your breathing and interfere with sleep quality — and, according to some studies, is closely linked to hearing loss. If you’ve ever been told you snore, gasp, or make choking noises in your sleep, or if you feel poorly rested and have a dry mouth when you wake up, you might consider getting evaluated for sleep apnea and see an audiologist.

The connection between sleep apnea and hearing loss comes down to blood flow. If your breathing is blocked during sleep, you may not get an adequate oxygen supply to circulate through your body. Studies show that adequate oxygen supply is important to the delicate inner ear, and therefore to your overall hearing health.

Sleep and tinnitus
Tinnitus, which usually presents as a ringing or buzzing noise in your ears, can make it extremely difficult and frustrating to try to get to sleep. If you’re experiencing this, you’re not alone; 77% of tinnitus patients suffer sleep disturbances. Unfortunately, it can turn into a vicious cycle where your lack of sleep can make you even more anxious and hyper-focused on your tinnitus, making both issues worse. Be sure to tell your doctor or audiologist if you are having difficulty sleeping so they can help you find the solution that works best for you. You can also check out these tips on treating insomnia when you have tinnitus.

Tips to improve your sleep
Because the connection between sleep and hearing health appears to be strong, developing a good sleep routine is an important way to keeping your ears healthy. Getting quality sleep also has other health benefits, like a strengthened immune system and a healthier heart.

So how exactly do you build a healthy sleep routine? Here are some highlights from a related article, 7 Tips for Better Sleep:

  1. Go to bed at the same time every night, so your body gets used to the rhythm.
  2. Stop eating and drinking anything other than water three hours before bed.
  3. Put away your phone, tablet, laptop, and other blue-light-emitting technology an hour before bed; replace them with a book!
  4. Do relaxing activities like meditation, yoga, and listening to calming music before you sleep.
  5. Set your bedroom temp to 65F and keep it as quiet as possible (white noise or a fan is OK).
  6. Invest in a good mattress, pillow, and sheets, so you feel comfortable and supported.
  7. Exercise during the day, so you feel more tired at night.

Learn more about CapTel and how our captioned hearing loss telephones make life easier with hearing loss.