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The world today is in rapid motion, full of constant challenges. This pace can sometimes be overwhelming and potentially stressful if we don’t make sure we set time aside to slow down.
Stress is nobody’s friend. It can lead to a lack of sleep, affect your work performance, and strain relationships at home. If that isn’t enough, the latest research shows that stress could also lead to hearing loss.
A certain level of stress is healthy for you.
Believe it or not, stress can have a positive part to play in your life. In fact, you can argue that the survival of any species depends a lot on how it reacts to perceived dangers in the environment.
Often known as “fight or flight,” stress will tell you when to run from a threatening situation or give you the extra adrenaline shot you need to stand your ground.
However, stress is toxic when it is experienced on a daily basis. Chronic stress can be triggered by constantly thinking about your work, the family, finances, or any number of social issues. So, this is when it’s beginning to take its toll on the body.
Long-term stress is detrimental to your health, and it says the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Adrenaline rises during acute stress to help you breathe quicker and to transfer blood to your muscles, so you can take action. This hormone will also inhibit the respiratory, digestive, sleep, and reproductive systems in the long term.
How chronic stress triggers hearing loss
As chronic stress plays a major role in adversely affecting our body, it may also cause hearing loss.
Exactly how? It all comes down to blood circulation. Chronic stress plays a major role in reducing blood flow, which is directly related to the tiny little hairs that need blood flow and nutrient distribution for their survival.
The overproduction of adrenaline in chronic stress can reduce or even stop the circulation of blood to the inner ear, causing hearing loss over time or even a sudden hearing loss.
Stress and tinnitus
Several studies have also linked stress to tinnitus. Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing noise without an external stimulus, such as ringing, humming, or whistling, and these may be distracting, irritating, or even painful. Tinnitus also constitutes an early warning sign of loss of hearing.
A recent study found that about 53 percent of people with tinnitus said their symptoms began at a stressful period in their lives or got substantially worse at a stressful time. It is a vicious cycle since tinnitus is caused by stress, which causes more stress that causes even more tinnitus. More stress will usually lead to more tinnitus.
How to deal with stress
If we had to guess, we would say that each of us would be happier to have less stress in our lives. While there are many strategies for coping with everyday stressors, finding the one that works for you is crucial.
We discuss several strategies for stress reduction, which have also been shown to have a beneficial impact on your hearing safety.
Regular exercise. Regular exercise is good for almost every aspect of your life, and this includes your stress levels and hearing safety. Regular exercise gives us an outlet for stress relief and also improves blood flow to our auditory systems and cells in the inner ear.
Reflect. Meditation has existed across societies for centuries. It is a practice that allows us to clear our minds and provide an outlet for our brains and subconscious to just “be.” Meditation has also proved to be a successful technique for tinnitus treatment.
Identify the triggers. Stress presents itself to different individuals differently. Recognizing the signs that you are stressed is crucial so that you can start working to calm down. Others get irritable, some feel discouraged. Many people lose sleep, and others rely more on alcohol. Learning the symptoms will help you control your stress levels better.
Also, get your hearing tested
Are you aware that untreated hearing loss may have a detrimental effect on our relationships at home, earning opportunities at work, personal health, and even cognitive ability?
Issues with any of those symptoms of untreated hearing loss could be a significant cause of stress. Loss of stress and hearing is a bit of a “chicken or egg case,” where stress can lead to loss of hearing, and untreated hearing loss can cause stress.
If you have noticed changes in your hearing, come see us. It is critical for people over 50 to schedule an annual hearing test to track their hearing abilities. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and to learn more about how to tackle your hearing issues.