Tinnitus can prevent you from falling asleep or getting enough quality restorative sleep, leading to daytime grogginess, anxiety, stress and reduced mental alertness. This can have serious consequences on your health, job performance, and relationships.
There are steps you can take to help lessen the nightly impact of tinnitus and ensure a good night’s sleep. Try the following:
Establish a regular bedtime routine and stick with it. Going to bed at the same time every night – even on the weekends – will help “train” your body that it’s time to shut down and get some sleep. Put away your phone and other electronic devices – these emit blue light that can interfere with sleep.
Clear your mind before bedtime. Try meditation or relaxation exercises. Popular techniques include autogenic training (focusing on creating sensations of warmth and heaviness in different areas of your body);; deep breathing exercises such as 4-7-8 (inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, exhale for eight seconds); guided imagery, in which you visualize appealing experiences and sensations; and progressive relaxation, tensing and relaxing different muscle groups.
Sleep in a darkened room. If your bedroom window faces a bright external light source, try room-darkening shades.
Keep your bedroom cool. Turning down the thermostat can help keep you comfortable and promote a good night’s sleep.
Use white noise. White noise is very effective at masking distracting background sounds and helping your brain to focus. You can buy a white noise machine specifically geared for this purpose, but an air conditioner, fan, or humidifier is just as effective.
Exercise regularly. Not only will exercise keep you healthier; it helps tire your body, which leads to better sleep. Just be sure not to exercise too closely to bedtime, as this can potentially leave you wired.
Hearing loss has been linked to a number of physical, social and psychological conditions including dementia, diabetes, anxiety, depression and social withdrawal. One of its lesser known side effects is fatigue.
If you have been feeling more tired than usual lately and experience hearing loss, there may be a correlation between the two. The reason boils down to a condition known as listening fatigue, a consequence of expending extra effort in order to hear better.
Hearing involves the brain just as much as the ears. Your brain receives sensory input from the inner ear and is responsible for processing sounds and translating them into recognizable speech. Damage to the hair cells of your inner ear limits your ability to hear properly; when this occurs, your brain is forced to “pick up the slack” and works extra hard to understand what you are hearing. Doing so is taxing and often leads to feelings of exhaustion and decreased energy levels.
Wearing hearing devices should significantly reduce these feelings of exhaustion. Because they amplify speech, your brain does not have to work as hard to convert this sensory input into sound, greatly reducing listening fatigue; this should translate to less physical tiredness and a boost in energy.
Other tips for reducing listening fatigue include:
Taking a short break from noise, even if only for a few minutes every hour. Try to find a quiet place to walk or relax.
Breathing deeply. Pausing on occasion to take deep breaths is an excellent relaxation method.
Eliminating background distractions. Background noise is one of the biggest obstacles to hearing effectively. Try turning off the television or music, or moving to a quieter place.
Taking a quick nap. If the other methods are ineffective, try taking a brief 20-30 minute nap.
Source: Alhanbali, S., et al. (2017) Self-reported listening-related effort and fatigue in hearing-impaired adults. Ear and Hearing: The Official Journal of the American Auditory Society (38)1: 39-48.
Diabetes can cause blurry vision, hunger, thirst and
fatigue; a lesser known associated condition is hearing loss. In fact, the
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) found
hearing loss to be about twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to
those without the disease.
This study is alarming to many otolaryngologists and
audiologists because there is no recommendation for hearing loss screenings in
a diabetes care regimen. Awareness is critical in increasing screening and
discovering diabetes patients who suffer from hearing loss. Many doctors fail
to recommend a hearing test at the annual checkup of diabetes patients. It’s
important for those with diabetes to take an active role in their health care
and seek treatment for any associated conditions they may be at risk for.
“Hearing loss may be an under-recognized complication
of diabetes,” senior author Catherine Cowie, Ph.D. said. “As diabetes becomes
more common, the disease may become a more significant contributor to hearing
loss. Our study found a strong and consistent link between hearing impairment
and diabetes using a number of different outcomes.”
The reason for this connection is not definitive, but some
evidence is suggestive. The NIDCD study reports diabetes may lead to hearing
loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear.
Afflicting nearly 21 million people in the United States,
diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke and the most common cause
of blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputations in adults.
Pre-diabetes, which causes no symptoms, affects about 54 million adults in the
United States. This high incidence of pre-diabetes and the connection between
dangerous associated conditions are encouraging many to evaluate their risk of
See your doctor if you think you might be pre-diabetic or if
you suffer from diabetes and believe you may have the beginning stages of
New evidence shows a link between poor heart health and hearing loss. The reason for this surprising correlation? The inner ear is extremely sensitive to blood flow, so obstructions in the arteries and veins – symptoms of impaired cardiovascular health – can impact the peripheral and central auditory systems, leading to hearing impairment. Conversely, when the heart is healthy and the flow of blood is unimpeded, hearing problems are fewer.
The cochlea, a fluid-filled tube in the inner ear that
translates sound into nerve impulses, fails to function properly when damaged
or subjected to decreased blood flow. A study of 1,600 patients with a history
of cardiovascular disease showed they were 54 percent more likely to experience
impaired cochlear function, further evidence of how essential blood flow is to
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will not only add years to
your lifespan but will reduce your odds of developing hearing loss. Doctors
recommend taking preventative measures such as eating healthier, losing weight,
quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Individuals with
hearing loss are encouraged to undergo cardiovascular screening to determine
whether there is an increased health risk. And patients already diagnosed with heart
disease should consider a hearing evaluation by an audiologist.