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Sound asleep: the link between hearing loss and sleep

Did you know that this month marks “World Sleep Day”? It’s a global initiative to remind us all just how important a good night’s sleep is for our overall well-being. But did you ever think about how our snooze patterns might affect our hearing?

Turns out, sleep deprivation doesn’t just leave us feeling groggy – it can mess with our ears, too. When we’re tired and running on empty, our cardiovascular system is less efficient, leading to poor circulation of blood to the arteries in our inner ears. And since hearing involves not just our ears, but our brains too, it’s a two-way street – sleep can impact our mental and physical health, and vice versa. When we enjoy a period of deep sleep, it gives our body the opportunity to heal.

Researchers have found that dreamless, deep sleep is key for memory, mood regulation, physical well-being and waking up feeling refreshed.

Although people who develop hearing loss later in life might actually get better shut-eye, since they’re less likely to be woken up by noises. However, other studies have shown that two-thirds of people with hearing loss report dealing with insomnia, likely because conditions like depression and anxiety – which are more common among those with hearing issues – can wreak havoc on sleep patterns.

And speaking of sleep woes, ever heard of obstructive sleep apnea? It’s when you stop breathing briefly while you snooze, leading to decreased blood flow to your inner ear and potential long-term hearing loss. Not exactly the lullaby you want.

It’s believed that up to 77% of tinnitus patients suffer from sleep problems – either because the sounds they hear make it hard to sleep or it is poor sleep that is aggravating the symptoms.

But fear not – there are plenty of strategies to help tame the tinnitus beast and reclaim your sleep. In-the-ear hearing aids, such as the revolutionary Phonak Lyric which sits deep in the ear canal, can work wonders for improving sleep quality, especially for those dealing with tinnitus. Sound therapy too has been a game-changer for many tinnitus sufferers. By introducing soothing background noises, like gentle waves or soft music at the right frequency, you can effectively mask the ringing in your ears and drift off into dreamland.

Another key player in the sleep-hearing equation is none other than our trusty earplugs. While they may seem like a simple solution, earplugs can work wonders for blocking out disruptive noises and promoting better sleep. Whether you’re dealing with a snoring partner, noisy neighbours, or a bustling street outside your window, investing in a quality pair of earplugs can make all the difference.

Of course, it’s not just about what you put in your ears – it’s also about how you treat your overall hearing health. Regular check-ups with an audiologist are essential for catching any potential issues early on and addressing them before they spiral out of control. Plus, staying on top of your hearing health can help prevent conditions like tinnitus from wreaking havoc on your sleep.

So, here’s the bottom line: if you’re tossing and turning at night, struggling with hearing loss or tinnitus, don’t lose hope! Consistent sleep routines (try to get 7-9 hours a night and a regular bed time), proper hearing care, and a little TLC can make all the difference.

If you are concerned about your hearing, give us a shout for advice and support – after all, everyone deserves a good night’s sleep!