With the kind of world we live in today, there’s a lot of stress to go around, which makes it normal for people to feel pressure almost every day. The bad news is that stress can be associated with many health problems, some of which can be long-term conditions. What many people don’t know is the possibility of experiencing physical changes from chronic stress like hearing loss and other inner ear problems. Let’s discuss how these problems start to develop when subjected to stressful situations.
Negative Consequences of Stress
As much as we hate to admit it, stress is a natural part of life. It’s your body’s way of dealing with difficult situations by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream that give you a burst of energy or strength. However, in modern society and the kind of lifestyle most people live in, the stress response isn’t so beneficial anymore. Now, stress becomes a huge health risk, weakening your immune system, leading to anxiety attacks, headaches, migraines, high blood pressure and many more.
Stress Can Cause Hearing Loss
Your inner ear is known to have fragile hair cells that rely on a steady stream of blood to receive sufficient oxygen and other nutrients. However, if you’re experiencing an insane amount of stress, that could easily disturb the blood circulation throughout your body. That overproduction of adrenaline caused by stress reduces blood flow to the ears, affecting hearing. Since blood flow is disturbed, your cells get damaged. The worst-case scenario is when you become so stressed that blood flow to your ears just stops entirely.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, which is commonly associated with stress, it can also have severe hearing repercussions, especially among people over 65 years of age. Chronic stress in the form of hypertension often leads to hearing loss and tinnitus.
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
If you’re not familiar with tinnitus, it is the experience of hearing noises without an external stimulus. That ringing, buzzing, or whistling sounds you hear could be nothing, but they could also be a sign that you have tinnitus. This is often an indication of an early sign of hearing loss. Many studies have linked stress to the development of tinnitus, both as a cause and as a symptom. Underlying causes of pulsatile tinnitus include high blood pressure, which stress can exacerbate. This kind of tinnitus should receive prompt medical attention.
Coping with Stress and Inner Ear Problems
In most cases, hearing loss is something that’s irreversible, but it can be managed by reducing the amount of stress in your life. There are quite some simple and practical ways to de-stress like:
- Taking a Break – A quick 20-minute break away from the cause of your stress can work wonders to make you feel less overwhelmed.
- Exercising – 20 minutes of exercise each day could benefit both your body and mind, effectively reducing stress levels.
- Smiling and Laughing – Finding ways to smile and get a good laugh helps ease tension and aid relaxation.
- Getting Social Support – It pays to have someone to talk to who can understand what you’re going through.
- Meditating – Similar to exercising, meditation helps the mind and body to relax and focus.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of hearing loss and being under a lot of stress lately, these tips can give you a good idea of what to expect when in this particular situation. It’s best to have a hearing evaluation and consult an audiologist for what to do next.
Fraser Valley Beltone provides hearing assessments in Abbotsford and Langley to help you determine if your hearing is in tip-top shape. Our hearing experts will diagnose your condition and prescribe the best treatment that suits your needs and lifestyle. Contact our hearing aid clinic today to book an appointment!