Insomnia can involve difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep as long as needed, and if left untreated, can contribute to such health problems as higher blood pressure and a greater probability of stroke.

Many people may not realize one potential side effect of insomnia is hearing impairment. This article discusses the potential impact of insomnia on hearing loss and the ways that sleep disorders can be linked to hearing disorders.

Insomnia and Blood Circulation

Studies have found that insomnia can sometimes lead to poor blood circulation, which can lead to impaired hearing. Normal hearing involves detecting sound vibrations through the ear and the auditory system. 

If insomnia diminishes the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, poor blood circulation can impair the function of the arteries in the inner ear. This can lead to hearing loss, either suddenly or over time. People diagnosed with poor blood circulation should also consider having their hearing checked.

Sleep Apnea

Research at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center has found a potential link between hearing loss and sleep apnea, which affects almost half of people with insomnia. This common sleep disorder usually involves increased instances of shallow or interrupted breathing during the night. These disruptions of normal sleep patterns can make people feel more tired or fatigued without knowing why.

Sleep apnea may not affect hearing directly, but researchers suspect that they can be correlated. People with sleep apnea may have inflammation or abnormal function of the blood vessels, which can lead to hearing impairments. Sleep apnea may not be accompanied by hearing loss, but patients who have both may experience improved hearing if the apnea is treated.


Insomnia is known to sometimes exacerbate the symptoms of tinnitus, a hearing disorder associated with such phantom sounds such as ringing in the ears. A study has shown that insomnia can have a negative effect on tinnitus, with insomnia patients reporting decreased tolerance of tinnitus symptoms and greater stress. As anxiety and awareness of tinnitus can make sleep more difficult, the two conditions can easily magnify each other.

Successful treatment of insomnia may see improvements in hearing. Nevertheless, if you have tinnitus, hearing loss, or other forms of hearing impairment, consult with a general physician and seek a referral to an ENT or hearing care specialist as needed. Insomnia and hearing loss both can lead to increased negative effects if left untreated over time.

In Conclusion

Cultivate good sleep habits such as a consistent bedtime every day. Get at least 20 minutes of exercise a day and do a relaxing activity such as reading before bedtime. Some doctors recommend that people who wear hearing aids should remove them at bedtime for increased comfort while falling asleep, as well as giving the devices time to dry out and your inner ear time to rest.