Stress, hearing loss and tinnitus linked
"I'm so stressed out right now."
Most, if not all of us have said that at some point in our lives. That's because most of us experience stress in a very real and tangible way. Medically speaking, stress is your body’s way of responding to any type of physical or emotional demands by releasing chemicals into the blood which give you more energy and strength. A little bit of stress can be a good thing — especially if you’re in a dangerous situation — but a lot of stress can wreak havoc on your health, including your hearing.
According to the medical professionals at WebMD:
You can also add tinnitus and hearing loss to the list, according to Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. They developed a questionnaire, asking survey participants 120 questions how they would report stress relating to their: psychosocial work environment, physical work environment, lifestyle, physical health and mental health.
The researchers also asked participants three questions about their hearing health, focusing on tinnitus and the ability to hear normal conversations. They discovered that respondents reporting stress relating to poor sleep and bad health were more likely to complain of tinnitus and hearing loss. Those who experienced stress in the workplace also complained of tinnitus and hearing loss. Both men and women in the study reported their hearing loss was worse when they perceived themselves to be in bad health.
Stress and your hearing
The researchers' findings are congruent with reports across the medical community. According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss is fast becoming one of the most common disabilities in the world. Although many types of hearing loss are not preventable, reducing the stress levels in your life can be beneficial to your hearing health.
The American Heart Association suggests four simple techniques for managing stress:
Of course, the best way to know whether stress is affecting your hearing is to see your hearing healthcare professional. At your exam, be sure to discuss with them your concerns and ways to decrease stress in your daily life as improving your lifestyle may also improve your hearing health. To find a hearing healthcare professional in your area, visit our hearing clinic directory.