Can Stress Cause Hearing Loss?

Can Stress Cause Hearing Loss?

Stress is one of those natural parts of life that we just can’t avoid, and it seems that nobody is exempt from experiencing it at some time or another. Contrary to popular belief though, stress can even be beneficial for us, as it’s part of our body’s natural response that helps alert us to dangerous situations and triggers our ‘fight or flight’ reaction.

Too much stress isn’t a good thing though, nor is the stress that causes problems for the rest of our body and mind. This is usually the case with long term stress because nothing is being resolved and we will definitely start feeling the effects, which is where stress and hearing loss comes in.

Stress-induced hearing loss is a very real thing and something that can occur if you don’t take steps to manage your own stress levels. We’re going to investigate the link between the two further and find out why and how it causes hearing loss, hopefully prompting you to make some changes in your life and do what you can to reduce your high stress levels.

What Is Stress?

Man Holding Hand On Forehead

Although stress gets a bad rap, it’s not always bad. When experienced in short term or acute situations, stress is a completely natural response to things that might be challenging or dangerous.

It’s our bodies way of telling us that something is wrong and heightening our senses so that we can be more aware of our surroundings, and can also help us to perform better in certain situations.

When we start to experience long term stress or chronic stress, this is when issues begin to arise. Being stressed every now and then is a fact of life and something that we all go through, but if you find that it’s lasting a long time or taking over your everyday life, this is when it starts being damaging for the rest of your body and mind as well.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, this type of long term or chronic stress is very damaging to your health. When you experience the feeling of stress, your body releases more adrenaline which when done over long periods can actually suppress your digestive, reproductive, sleep, and immune systems.

Feeling stressed at all times means your body doesn’t know how to come back to this normal level, and as a result, you’ll start feeling the effects all over. Some of the common health problems that occur from chronic stress include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even a loss of hearing.

Can Stress Cause Hearing Loss?

Holding Hand Near Ear

So, can stress cause a loss of hearing? The short answer is yes, but there are some complexities to it and a few different ways it can do so. When we feel stressed, we are experiencing a restriction in circulation, and this directly impacts our hearing in a number of ways.

The main reason for this can be found on the small hairs that live in the inner ear. These hairs are tasked with the job of translating outside noise and turning them into electrical impulses that our brain then uses to turn them into sound.

When the hairs become damaged, as happens when we are stressed and have poor circulation, it causes something called sensorineural hearing loss.

Another way that we might feel the effects of stress in our hearing is due to something called pulsatile tinnitus. This can feel like a rhythmic sound in the ear that might pulsate or beat in time with your heartbeat. One of the most common causes of this type of tinnitus is high blood pressure or hypertension, which is often linked hand in hand with stress.

If you feel that you’re stressed out constantly or know that you have something tinnitus, hypertension or high blood pressure, it could be directly impacting your hearing. People often assume that stress is just a mental condition but in reality, it affects so many other systems within the body, with hearing being one of the most important.

Tips For Reducing Stress

Stress Meditation

Stress is something we can’t avoid, but if you feel as though it’s getting on top of you and potentially causing your hearing loss, there are some things you can do. in addition to speaking with a trained professional about your problems, try these tips for naturally reducing stress in your life:

  • Exercise: At least 20 minutes of exercise a day has been shown to be hugely beneficial for reducing stress levels and making a healthier body and mind
  • Meditate: Spend at least five minutes a day in a quiet space and focus solely on your breathing to help calm down
  • Speak to someone: Speak to a friend or family member who you feel safe talking to about your stress or seek out help from a trained mental health professional
  • Manage your load: Take a look at what aspects of life are making you stressed and find out ways to reduce the load or ask others for help

Mental Health Matters With Stress And Hearing Loss

If you suspect that your hearing has gone downhill, it’s always advisable to speak to a health professional to get a better prognosis. Stress could be the main culprit when it comes to your hearing problem and they might be able to help you get it under control.

Although stress is a very necessary part of being alive, and something that can be hugely beneficial, when it’s felt over longer periods it will do serious damage.

Your hearing is just one thing that could be affected by chronic stress and it’s important to manage your mental health accordingly. We all need our hearing to be in top condition, so whatever we can do to improve it is certainly worth trying.

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