Modern life is a fast-paced world that puts us up against many challenges. The stress caused by this velocity can wear you down if you don’t take time out of your day to effectively manage it. Stress can lead to unexpected obstacles, such as a poor night’s rest that can interfere with your ability to accomplish tasks at work.
The Fallout of Stress
The human body receives a rush of energy or strength by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream in order to handle stress. This is a normal reaction from our bodies. It supports us through demanding moments, but excessive amounts of stress can deteriorate and weaken your body. Stress isn’t just emotionally tiring, it can lead to additional health problems by diminishing our immune system, cause anxiety attacks, diabetes, headaches, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal complications, migraines, and more.
The Connection between Stress and Hearing Loss
The body’s response to stress leads to adrenaline being overproduced. This causes a restriction of blood flow to the ears, which is how it affects a person’s ability to hear. Delicate hair cells, or cilia, are found in the inner ear. They need constant blood flow in order to receive the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients. Each day when stress builds up, it may lead to a disruption of the blood flow to the rest of the body. Without steady circulation, these hair cells can become permanently damaged. Hearing loss can occur if an individual becomes overstressed to the point where blood no longer flows to the ears.
Stress, Hypertension and Hearing Loss
Hypertension is high blood pressure that occurs alongside stress. There are serious consequences of these symptoms that can harm the health of your hearing. High blood pressure weakens blood vessels, which affects the rest of your body - including your ears. If there is damage to the blood vessels in your ears, your hearing can be impaired. Recurring episodes of stress that manifest in the form of hypertension normally cause hearing loss and tinnitus. Hearing loss symptoms that are caused by stress include feelings of fullness, blockage, pain or pressure in the ear(s).
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
Over the years studies have associated stress with tinnitus. It is both a cause and a symptom. Tinnitus is the perceived buzzing, hissing or ringing noise in your ears when there is no outside source of the sound. It is normally caused by excessive exposure to loud noises or even some medications. It can linger and then fade away, but it has a tendency to occur when a person is feeling stressed. A study found that 53% of patients who have tinnitus claimed that their symptoms began amid a stressful point of their lives, or became severe during a stressful period. It’s a continuous series of stress that induces tinnitus, which leads to more stress, and that stress leads to more episodes of tinnitus.
How You Can Relax
If you experience hearing loss that was caused by stress, you first need to lower those levels of stress in order to thwart more damaging effects.
Pause everything for a moment. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, rest your mind. You can stop for 20 minutes and simply close your eyes.
Engage in regular exercises. Stress impacts your brain as well as your body. If your body feels great, your mind will too. Exercise and other physical activity create endorphins (chemicals in your brain that are essentially used as natural painkillers), and they improve sleep, which lowers stress levels. It only takes 20 minutes of exercise each day to increase your blood flow, which in turn will improve the health of your mind and body.
Discuss ways to reduce stress with a friend or healthcare professional. Talking to someone who has experienced what you have, or has credible knowledge, can encourage you to get through it.
Meditation. This can help your body and mind focus and relax. You can go out to a quiet place in nature, listen to calming music or a meditation podcast.
Participate in your favorite activities. Take out time each day to do something that you enjoy. It can be as simple as listening to your favorite music or reading a book.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, and/or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid solutions that can be customized for your particular needs.