How Stress Can Affect Your Hearing Health
Some degree of stress is unavoidable and generally considered normal. But if stress isn't kept in check, it could contribute to issues that may, in turn, lead to hearing loss or tinnitus – a condition characterized by persistent low-frequency sounds heard internally. But just how could stress end up affecting your hearing? Below, we explore this topic and offer some solutions.
Stress, Circulation, and Hearing Loss
The connection to hearing loss and stress is often related to the many conditions that can develop, in part, due to chronic stress. Many of these conditions affect circulation. Common health-related issues that can be aggravated by stress include:
- Heart disease
- Hypertension, or high blood pressure
The inhibited circulation associated with these conditions, which can also become an issue if you're a smoker, can restrict flow in the blood vessels in your ears. Small sensory hairs in your inner ear need sufficient circulation to function correctly. These hairs help change sounds coming into the outer ear into signals the brain can interpret.
If inner ear sensors are damaged or die due to a lack of sufficient circulation, the result can be hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is known as sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL, which is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.
Stress, Tinnitus, and Hearing Loss
Chronic stress doesn't necessarily cause tinnitus. But if you have existing issues with tinnitus, stress could trigger flare-ups. The poor circulation that can result from conditions affected by stress could contribute to pulsatile tinnitus. This form of tinnitus often produces rhythmic ear noise that follows the individual's heartbeat pattern. Immediate hearing care or medical attention is recommended if you're experiencing pulsatile tinnitus.
Stress, Yawning, and Hearing Loss
Stress can also make you tired from a lack of sufficient sleep. Not sleeping well, for instance, can lead to excessive yawning, which could throw off the pressure in your ears. You may then experience hearing loss or a feeling of "stuffiness" that impairs your hearing.
Solutions for Stress and Hearing Loss
Oftentimes, sensorineural hearing loss isn't reversible. However, hearing care for this type of hearing loss may involve efforts to manage stress better. According to the American Psychological Association, you may be able to keep stress in check by:
- Taking breaks when you're feeling stressed
- Getting regular exercise to improve your body-mind health
- Finding ways to laugh and smile to ease tension in your facial muscles and reduce stress
- Exploring meditation and other relaxation techniques
- Talking to someone about your stress issues, or seeking other forms of support
If tinnitus is being affected by stress, your hearing care recommendations may also include stress management. Depending on what's going on hearing-wise, a hearing care professional could also recommend a hearing aid if there are structural issues affecting your hearing.
Call Us Today
Beltone Yordon is your source for a wide range of hearing care options. If you believe stress and related health issues may be contributing to hearing loss or tinnitus combined with some degree of hearing loss or impairment, reach out to our hearing care team today. Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your concerns about hearing loss.