March is the perfect time to wonder How Your Sleeping Patterns Affect Hearing since it is Sleep Awareness Month. Which makes sense because of the gloomy weather, right? Between 7-9 hours of sleep every night boosts memory and creativity, sharpens attention, lowers stress levels, reduces inflammation and blood pressure, and helps prevent hearing loss. Individuals with poor sleeping habits often have problems associated with their hearing in the long term.
Common Sleep Disorders: Sleep Apnea & Insomnia
- Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes a brief or periodic stop in airflow to the lungs. Sleep apnea linked to heart disease and diabetes and it is also a significant contributor to hearing loss. In 2015, Dr. Amir Chopra of the New York Albany Medical Center that concluded that “people suffering from sleep apnea had a 31% increased risk of high-frequency hearing loss and a 90% increased risk of low-frequency hearing loss”. This results of this study were inconclusive, Dr. Chopra and his medical team have to find out why this is true. While they do know that individuals with sleep apnea are prone to blood flow circulation issues, they believe that this issue is due to blood discharging into the cochlea and areas of the inner ear.
- Insomnia is the difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep. Individuals with insomnia experience fatigue, low energy, and a decreased performance at work/school. In recent studies, experimenters have found a relationship between insomnia and tinnitus. Patients with tinnitus experience a perception of noise or ringing in the ears so when coupled with insomnia, patients experience intensified symptoms.
Some tips to sleep better at night and prevent the onset of hearing loss:
- Set a sleep schedule: fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day
- Avoid using electronic devices in bed: it prevents your brain from releasing the sleep hormone, melatonin
- Check your medications for stimulants, try not to take them 3-4 hours before bedtime
- Moderate Exercise: go for a walk, try stretching
- Cut down on coffee, tea, chocolate, and sodas (they all contain high levels of caffeine)
- Set your room to an optimal sleeping temperature (typically between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Breathing exercises for relaxation
- Read a book or listen to a podcast
- Try not to have a really heavy dinner 2-3 hours before bed, this can cause stomach discomfort
One last tip is to remove your hearing aids when sleeping. Hearing aids can have an impact on your sleep, taking them out at night gives your ears a chance to relax and also gives your hearing aids a chance power off. While you may not like taking your hearing aids off in case you miss your alarm in the morning, you always can invest in a vibrating watch or have a loved one wake you up.
So tonight get your 7-9 hours of sleep!
For more information and a hearing consultation, contact us today!