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Posted on Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sleepless Nights Can Damage Hearing

Sleepless man covers face with hands

Sleepless nights or lack of sleep has long been known to contribute to heart health problems and emotional problems, but it is now thought to also contribute to issues with hearing. So how can a sleepless night damage hearing?

It is thought that a lack of sleep can contribute to hearing loss, for two reasons. The first is because a lack of sleep leads to the mind’s inability to focus or what is commonly called mental exhaustion. The mind plays an important part in hearing, and this exhaustion could be leading to a downturn in a person's ability to hear.

But this loss of hearing, can also be because of a link between less sleep and poorer circulation. Researchers have discovered that sleeping less--just over two nights--can harm blood vessel function. Your ears depend upon the blood that circulates in your body. The slowing of blood flow means fewer nutrients to the ear and this can lead to atrophy and destruction of the auditory hair cells. In fact, researchers are now exploring the link between people who have sleep issues like sleep apnea and an increase in sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

Dr. Seva Polotsky, a sleep apnea researcher from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said in a recent article on Reuters Health, “It's possible that sleep apnea, which is known to increase the buildup of plaque in blood vessels, could affect vessels in areas of the brain that control hearing, or vessels that feed the nerves responsible for hearing.”

Insomnia, apnea, and other sleep disorders are all ways that your hearing can be damaged due to lack of sleep. So how can you sleep better and help preserve your hearing? This youtube video below has some good tips!

If you'd like to learn more about keeping your hearing healthy, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

References

American Physiological Society (APS). "Cutting back on sleep harms blood vessel function and breathing control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2013. .

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