Busy schedules, work, family, health concerns. The sources of stress are endless, and stress can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. But did you know it can also lead to hearing loss?
Stress and Hearing Loss
Hypertension: Stress causes your body to release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Those chemicals can cause high blood pressure and damage the blood vessels in your ears.
Circulation: The hair cells in your ears rely on nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood to function properly. Stress restricts circulation and reduces the blood flow to your ears. Low blood flow causes irreversible damage to those hair cells, which means they can’t send auditory signals to your brain.
Tinnitus: Stress is a cause and effect of tinnitus. Stress-induced hypertension and circulation issues may exacerbate the ringing, buzzing or roaring in your ears. That perceived increase in volume causes irritation and anxiety, which creates more stress.
Immune system: You may find yourself under the weather during times of extreme stress. That’s because it weakens your immune system, which puts you at a higher risk for contracting illnesses. Your ears are especially susceptible to the infections and inflammation that often accompany sickness.
Destress to Protect Your Hearing
Identify stressors: Learning to spot your stress source(s) is an essential step toward successful stress management. Knowing what causes your discomfort will help you reduce your exposure.
Take a break: Sometimes, stepping back is the best thing you can do. If it’s a work problem, family issue or unexpected frustration, take ten to 20 minutes to reassess your situation and lower your stress level.
Express yourself: Discussing your frustration or anxiety with a trusted friend or family member allows you to get your worries off your chest. Those closest to you may even have valuable insight to ease your woes.
Meditation: Breathing exercises and mindfulness are two easy ways to recenter your mind and focus on the present. Taking your mind off your stress will reduce the likelihood of burnout.
Find something fun: All work and no play make for a very stressful life. Give yourself the chance to unwind and enjoy your day. Take up a new hobby or revisit an old one.
Exercise: Aerobic and strength exercises improve circulation and release feel-good endorphins, which lower your stress levels.
Take our free online hearing test if you suspect you have hearing loss. We also offer comprehensive hearing evaluations and hearing aid services. Call 888.473.8702 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.