How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night because of a noise that roused you from your slumber?
Even though this poorly affects your health, the World Health Organization found that the primary danger that noise pollution can do to people’s health around the globe comes from noise that we don’t notice while we’re in a deep sleep. In other words, noise does not have to wake you to harm your sleep.
Hearing loss could actually be connected to disrupted sleep, which makes people with hearing loss more susceptible. Researchers do not currently know how noises at night impact people with hearing loss.
Disruptive Noises, Sleep, and Health
If your sleep is constantly being interrupted - or you only get a few hours of sleep - this can increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Anyone who hears traffic noises at night is more prone to experience heart disease and take medication to aid with sleep. This will not effectively improve their quality of sleep.
When you are asleep, you go through two types of light sleep (stage 1 and 2), deep slow-wave sleep (stage 3), and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. In stage 3, the muscles begin to relax, as do the rate of your pulse and breathing. This stage has an important role in your immune system. Your dreams occur during stage 4, which is important for learning, memory, and creativity.
Noise appears to prolong stage 1 sleep and decreases both stage 3 and 4 sleep. Signals in your body may be set off, the way adrenaline and cortisol are triggered. As a result, you may notice a faster heart rate and your blood pressure might rise. All of these things can happen in your body while you are unconscious. Your body is essentially protecting you as you rest.
Early primates needed to be ready for danger during the night, but this normally doesn’t apply to us in modern times. It’s an unnecessary alarm. The noise does not even need to be very loud to poorly affect a person. There was a study on hospital equipment that made approximately 40 decibels (dB) of noise. There were quantitative impacts on electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements of brain activity during sleep in healthy adult test subjects. They essentially compared the health impacts of noise on a person to secondhand smoking.
Does having Hearing Loss Reduce the Risk of Poor Sleep?
The answer is, no.
According to Evidence for an Association Between Hearing Impairment and Disrupted Sleep: Scoping Review hearing loss is associated with insomnia and other interruptions during sleep. It is still unknown how noises that occur at night impact hearing loss. Nathan Clarke, a researcher on hearing loss from the University of Nottingham, explained how evolution shows us that individuals with hearing loss may need to exert more energy to process noises in the night that may indicate potential danger. As of now, there is little evidence to back up this claim.
Tinnitus can worsen your sleep. A study on approximately 300 Israeli workers, who were exposed to industrial noise, showed that those who had symptoms of tinnitus had the most trouble with sleep. The hearing loss was connected to insomnia, no matter what age they were or how long they had been exposed to the noise.
In a different study, individuals with tinnitus and hearing loss had a significant improvement in their sleep after receiving hearing aids, but this was not the case for those who only had hearing loss.
In a study of about 7,000 Japanese volunteers, people who have hearing loss are more inclined to sleep for over eight hours. It is uncertain as to what this indicates about being susceptible to disturbance.
Getting Help and Useful Equipment
If you usually wake up tired from your slumber, you should consider getting checked for sleep apnea. People who experience sleep apnea struggle to breathe during sleep and have short, unconscious moments of waking up. Sleep apnea can be partly responsible for hearing loss. In one study, it was discovered that the more frequently you were interrupted due to sleep apnea, the worse your hearing was. This included high-frequency and low-frequency hearing loss, even if you don’t snore. Another small study showed that bed partners of people who snore had a greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Anxiety is an unrelenting and intense state of alertness. While this is completely normal when you encounter stressful circumstances, for some people it becomes an unmanageable condition that consumes their thoughts.
Hearing loss can provoke or even encourage these anxieties, but there haven’t been comprehensive studies on this matter. These worries aren’t simply about hearing loss, but also missing out on important information, embarrassment from a misunderstanding, thoughts of hearing aid batteries running out of power, or feeling left out of job opportunities/social circles.
Experiencing Physical Anxiety
You may have had strong feelings of anxiety which led to physical symptoms, such as:
If any of these symptoms are becoming so frequent that they are negatively impacting your life, you should seek help from a professional. This might include treatment for hearing loss and anxiety.
What Triggers Your Anxiety?
Anxiety is separated into five categories:
If you were in an automobile accident and suffered a head injury, you might suffer from rapid hearing loss and other symptoms of PTSD. Your specific symptoms and treatment may be different from someone who is gradually losing their hearing and constantly pays attention to signs of dementia (but it’s only their hearing that’s been impacted).
People with hearing loss might have tinnitus or Ménière's disease, which can also be distressing and lead to anxiety.
The Statistics on Anxiety and Hearing Loss
Constantly struggling in everyday circumstances that aren’t a problem for most people can lead to stress. Anxiety is one reaction to this stress. Over a 12-year study, about 4,000 French citizens who were at least 65-years-old, and had hearing loss at the beginning of the study had a higher risk of developing symptoms of anxiety over time.
People who had vision loss were not more likely to show symptoms of anxiety. This may be due to the reduced stigma in wearing eyeglasses over wearing hearing aids.
Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Severity Raise the Risk of Experiencing Anxiety
The link to hearing loss and tinnitus severity was found in adults of every age group. The study found in 17,000 adult participants, there was a higher risk of anxiety if your hearing loss was more severe or you had tinnitus.
This does not automatically conclude that you will be anxious due to hearing loss. In five studies that examined symptoms in hard-of-hearing individuals, between 15 to 31 percent of participants had significant symptoms of anxiety. So overall, most people did not have these symptoms.
Among the general population, anxiety is common. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 18 percent of American adults have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Are You Anxious in Social Situations or Simply Frustrated due to Problems with Hearing?
As frequently mentioned in this blog, age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), slowly happens over time. Many people don’t notice it, until much later in life.
You can be slowly overcome with feelings of loneliness, which contribute to your mental health - i.e. anxiety.
People who have social anxiety fear any circumstance where they may be negatively judged, whether it’s with people that they work with, or engaging in small talk.
Hearing loss can lead to situations that can frustrate others. When you are unable to hear clearly, you may not notice when someone is about to talk or has not finished speaking, and interrupt that person. You might pretend that you can hear, or make a guess as to what was said, and give an inappropriate response. Maybe you didn’t hear a joke - so you’re the only person who didn’t laugh. Hearing loss can make you feel isolated and create awkward social situations.
If you still enjoy being social with others, you probably have mild social anxiety. If the simple act of sitting with others makes you anxious, you probably have extreme social anxiety.
Those with GAD might have a lot of worries and struggle with physical symptoms for days prior to a date or a job interview.
Tips for Communication
Can Having an Anxiety Disorder Negatively Impact Your Hearing?
A French study conducted on 10,500 Taiwanese adults concluded that there was a higher risk of anxiety among those who experienced sudden hearing loss (SHL). Participants in the study who were diagnosed with GAD, but not hearing loss at the beginning of the research were more likely to develop hearing loss than individuals who did not have GAD. The adults with GAD were not more likely to experience worsening vision.
Additional studies are needed to determine why hearing might be impacted by anxiety.
Treatment for Anxiety is Available
Most people who have anxiety are not treated. It often gets overlooked.
If you want to get help for anxiety, you will need to reach out to your healthcare provider. Exercise, meditation, or medication may be suggested.
Hearing Aids of Assistive Listening Devices
If hearing loss is causing your anxiety, hearing aids can significantly improve your condition. They cannot restore your hearing back to normal, but they can help you manage the anxiety that you feel with communication and listening. Phone apps that provide captions and decibel readers can also be helpful. If the sound of your alarm causes anxiety, you can set one that creates a light that slowly shines like a sunrise, or even a gentle shaking alarm to wake you from your sleep.
If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety, or any other concerning symptoms, due to hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
Are You Hearing a Rumble in Your Ear? You may be Experiencing Tonic Tensor Tympani in addition to Hearing Loss.
Are you hard of hearing and experienced a vibrating sensation and the sounds of rumbling in your ear? You may not be able to completely describe this new feeling, as it may not resemble your average type of tinnitus.
The rumbling is actually a common symptom of tinnitus. It tends to occur as a way of protecting your ears from noises that are too loud. There are some treatable conditions that may cause this rumbling.
What causes the sound of rumbling in your ears?
In some cases, the rumbling sound resembles rushing water or wind that’s whisking through the air and into your ear.
As mentioned, a rumbling sound is used to safeguard your ears. The ears protect themselves by tightened muscles in the inner ear, which suppress sounds. These muscles are known as “tensor tympani”.
These muscles can pull the malleus (a bone that helps with the ability to hear) in the ear away from the eardrum. Therefore, the eardrum cannot vibrate as much as it normally should. This stifles the ear, causing the rumbling noise.
This could happen while:
It’s important to note that these sounds are not experienced by everyone, but some people do notice the rumbling sounds during these occasions.
Hidden Medical Reasons
In some cases, there are underlying medical issues that can lead to a rumbling sensation to the ear. These causes can include:
There are treatments for both of these conditions.
Some people can consciously generate these sounds.
In some instances, you can control this rumbling sound. There’s a small subdivision of people who have the ability to contract their tensor tympani muscles in their inner ear whenever they want.
Some people create the sounds subconsciously.
One way to notice whether you are creating the sound is if you anticipate hearing the rumbling sound when you are about to do a specific thing, such as yawn.
If you have the ability to control when the tensor tympani muscles contract, this could be useful for protecting your ears from louder inner noises. If you can tense your muscles, you may also be able to shield against low-frequency noises so that you can hear higher (and usually more difficult to hear) sound frequencies that are higher in pitch.
Being able to contract these tensor tympani muscles isn’t something that you should be worried about.
Tonic Tensor Tympani Syndrome (TTTS)
This is a rare type of tinnitus. This is a form of objective tinnitus, meaning that both the person with the condition and others can hear a sound. Patients with TTTS hear sounds in a different way.
TTTS is also considered a form of pulsatile tinnitus. This means that the condition is related to irregular blood flow. Individuals with high blood pressure, blood vessels with calcifications, and other conditions can have this type of tinnitus.
Is Tonic Tensor Tympani associated with Tinnitus?
As frequently mentioned in this blog, tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a noise when there isn’t an identifiable source of the sound nearby. People have often described it as a chirping, clicking, hissing, ringing, roaring, or whooshing noise.
The impact of tinnitus on hearing health varies from person to person. Some experience tinnitus due to irregularities in their blood vessels. Others encounter issues with muscles in their ears, including the tensor tympani muscles.
There’s a possibility that the rumbling noise is tinnitus, particularly if it doesn’t happen when chewing or yawning.
If you or a loved one are experiencing tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
Symptoms of tinnitus can be stressful. Did you know that negative feelings that are connected to tinnitus can make your symptoms worse? Let’s learn more about the link between tinnitus and pessimism. Hopefully, this will help you break the cycle of negative thoughts circling in your mind.
Tinnitus and its connection to Anxiety
The brain and nervous system are designed to respond to threatening encounters, to help you survive. This is known as the fight or flight response. Your brain can not always distinguish the difference between perceived danger and actual danger. This is the reason why you may feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins when you hear a ringing or buzzing noise in your ear, as though you are running away from a bear or other dangerous predator.
Tinnitus induces stress, which signals to your brain that your life might be in danger. Your fight or flight response is triggered, which causes a physiological reaction such as a higher heart rate and sweating, which is commonly associated with anxiety and fear.
Your Inclination to Negative Thoughts
Any thoughts that you associate with your tinnitus can regulate how you react on an emotional level. Your emotions may intensify your suffering. They also structure how you remember things. This is known as negative memory bias.
When you correlate your symptoms of tinnitus with the side effects, it will create stress any time you think about it. That makes sense. You are more likely to think about tinnitus when it negatively impacts your daily life. You can shift your frame of mind to control how you react to the symptoms to alleviate the irksome noise.
Dealing with Your Negativity
If you, or a loved one, are still experiencing tinnitus, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a consultation. Most modern hearing aids have a tinnitus masking feature that needs to be programmed for your specific listening needs. Our hearing instrument specialists are ready to help you.
After a man from Texas contracted Covid-19, he suffered from a number of symptoms. One of these symptoms was tinnitus.
It is uncertain as to whether tinnitus has a direct link to Covid-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe tinnitus as a s