We’re all feeling a bit stressed these days. Throughout the pandemic, approximately 4 in 10 American adults reported feelings of anxiety and depression. That number was lower before these current circumstances with just 1 in 10 adults who felt these symptoms in 2019.
A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) - an independent source of health policy information - discovered that many adults have reported poor states of mental health and overall well-being. These included struggling to sleep (36%), a rise in alcohol consumption/substance abuse (12%), and a decline in chronic conditions (12%) due to anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic.
Tinnitus does not Pair well with Stress
Reports of tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ears) have surged since the beginning of the pandemic. This was inevitable, as stress is a contributor to tinnitus.
Several studies in the past have shown that tinnitus symptoms can be exacerbated due to stress, insomnia, and a poor diet. Consuming too much alcohol or caffeine can also make tinnitus symptoms worse. Day-to-day worries about dealing with family, security in your job, interpersonal relationships, and contracting the virus have raised stress levels and feelings of pessimism.
Dealing with tinnitus can be problematic and induce stress. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Hearing Loss Caused by Stress
Depending on your age, you may not consider stress when it comes to your hearing health or your overall health. But stress can induce hearing loss.
When your body responds to stress, adrenaline overproduces which lowers blood flow to the ears. This affects your hearing. The hair cells in your ears need constant blood flow to get the proper level of oxygen and other nutrients. When recurring moments of stress build up, this can disrupt blood circulation throughout the body. The lack of constant blood flow to the hair cells can lead to damage. In some cases, this can cause permanent hearing loss.
It’s easy for many of us to know when anxiety interrupts our well-being, but the idea that our hearing might be affected may not be very obvious. As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss can lead to or even worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is also problematic for hearing health. High blood pressure can lead to damaged blood vessels. This deterioration doesn’t just impact one part of the body. Your whole body, including your ears, is affected.
Ways You Can Reduce Your Stress Levels
Everyone can use some awareness and coping mechanisms to help themselves and their loved ones.
Take these small steps to reduce feelings of stress. You may find that it can make a big difference! Healthy habits can improve your overall well-being.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.