Today’s world is the world of big cities with millions of people. The current trend is that Americans are moving from quiet, rural places to major state cities. The reasons may vary, but they are all looking for a better life.
Unfortunately, along with great opportunities, they also get health problems. Indeed, in big cities there are many factors, often hidden, that negatively affect our health and nighttime noise is one dangers that we have to face.
How does nighttime noise affect sleep and health?
I’m sure it’s no secret that those who live near noisy highways, railways, and airports are more likely to suffer from health problems, including hearing problems.
The World Health Organization notes that the effects of noise during sleep, or so-called nighttime noise, pose the greatest danger to humans. While awake, you can use ear protection (earplugs, earmuffs) or leave a noisy area. However, during sleep, this possibility disappears. At the same time, noise pollution negatively affects the body during the entire sleep. You will not feel refreshed in such situations. Sleepiness combined with lethargy will follow you for the whole day. Even a few cups of coffee cannot force the body into working mode. But lethargy at work is not a problem at all, compared to other problems arising from nighttime noise. Diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure are closely associated with chronic lack of sleep. There are also problems with the nervous and the cardiovascular system.
Surprisingly, all these diseases are directly related to nighttime noise, from which one simply cannot hide in a large city. Have you bought a luxury apartment or house on a busy street? What will you do with nightly traffic noise, which does not subside even at night? It is important to note that this area is poorly understood and has just begun to reveal its secrets.
Are people with hearing loss less likely to have trouble sleeping?
So, we have already found out that the quality of sleep significantly affects human health. What conclusion can we draw from this? That’s right, get enough sleep and do not get yourself to insomnia to avoid health problems. This suggests a logical continuation. If a person has any hearing impairment, then he has fewer problems with sleep, because he simply does not hear nightly traffic noise. However, some studies show a completely different picture! It turns out that hearing problems and insomnia are linked.
Japanese scientists conducted an important study with several thousand volunteers. The goal was to measure the duration of sleep in different groups of people. The results showed that people with hearing loss needed more than 8 hours of sleep to feel good, while healthy volunteers needed only 7-8 hours.
The results of another study are more surprising. Scientists at the University of Nottingham have found a direct relationship between hearing impairment and insomnia. It’s not yet truly known why this is happening. Scientists continue to research.
I can assume that with hearing loss, the brain is constantly in a tense state since it has to exert extra efforts to correctly perceive and process all the incoming sound information. It cannot shut down at the right time to sleep. This is what negatively affects the ability to fall asleep.
In the presence of hearing loss, weakened and/or distorted sound signals enter the brain, which requires much more effort from it to process them correctly. Thus, the resources of the brain are redistributed, due to which other functions suffer.
I would also like to pay special attention to tinnitus. The phantom noise interferes with sleep and can keep a person awake throughout the night. Another problem is that lack of sleep makes tinnitus worse. Thus, the problem will only progress and affect your health if you do not take care of it. Israeli scientists came to such conclusions. They conducted a study with 298 volunteers exposed to noise at work. They all have some kind of sleep disturbance. And some even suffered from insomnia. As you can see, environmental noise and sleep disturbances are closely related.
How to improve your sleep quality?
Don’t underestimate poor sleep and insomnia. Over time, this problem threatens with catastrophic consequences, against the background of which hearing loss does not seem to be a serious problem. Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro, our Lead Specialist, has provided several tips on how to minimize the negative effects of nighttime noise and improve sleep quality.
Eliminate annoying factors
At least a couple of hours before bedtime, exclude watching movies, surfing the Internet and, of course, refrain from work. Your brain is in a heightened state of activity while doing all of the above, which makes it difficult to fall asleep quickly.
Pay attention to nutrition
Sleep problems can be triggered by foods such as chocolate, smoked and canned meats, energy drinks, and alcohol. Try to avoid them especially in the evening. Include dates, cherries, grapes, and watermelon more often.
Use earplugs or earbuds
Are you tired of nighttime noise and don’t get enough sleep? Use earplugs or earmuffs to sleep. These are headbands, which are conveniently attached to the head and can protect from light and sound. This advice is suitable for people with healthy hearing.
Pay attention to how you breathe. Shallow breathing and short breaths keep the parasympathetic nervous system on alert at all times. This leads to increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and trouble sleeping.
Pink noise is our friend
Pink noise is one of the most common signals in biological systems. The noise of rain, gusts of wind, waterfall, rivers, rustling of leaves – all this is pink noise. It enhances deep sleep and significantly improves memory.
Use hearing aids
Hearing loss negatively affects falling asleep and deep sleep. Therefore, the hearing aid ensures healthy, adequate sleep, allowing the body to reboot and restore all the necessary resources for the next day. In addition, daily use of a hearing aid improves the ability to fall asleep, the duration and depth of sleep.
According to Anovum’s research conducted by EHIMA, the satisfaction index of sleep at night, in hearing aid users is almost 60%. While for those who do not use hearing aids, this figure is less than 50%.
Take sleep medicine
It’s no coincidence that medication is at the bottom of our list of tips. Pills are the last resort when other methods no longer help. So if nightly traffic noise prevents you from falling asleep or a good night’s sleep, then take sleep medicine. Of course, you cannot buy such products without a doctor’s prescription. So be sure to check with your doctor before using any type of medication.
Let’s summarize some of the results. It turns out there is a link between nighttime noise, hearing loss, and sleep problems. Although the connection is not obvious, it has a great impact on human health. Moreover, this area is still poorly understood and raises many questions to which scientists have yet to find answers. Therefore, follow our recommendations if you want to live a long and happy life, and in case of adverse symptoms, immediately seek help!
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]