Your body is comprised of physiological networks that work closely together to ensure your well-being. If stress affects one system, it will likely have a ripple effect causing repercussions in other parts of your body.
We all know stress can be bad for your health. It affects your heart rate, blood pressure and immune system, but it can also exacerbate hearing loss.
The Link Between Stress and Hearing
When you experience stress, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, which can cause high blood pressure and damage the blood vessels in your ears. The delicate hair cells in your ears responsible for sending audio signals to your brain rely on healthy blood vessels to supply them with oxygen-rich blood to function correctly.
Stress restricts circulation and reduces the blood flow to your ears, which can spell disaster for those hair cells. Any interruption in blood flow may damage them and affect your hearing.
Do You Hear That Ringing?
Tinnitus is a ringing, whooshing or buzzing in the ears, and it’s often a symptom of hearing loss. Stress creates a vicious cycle that can exacerbate tinnitus, but it’s also a side effect of the condition.
Stress-induced hypertension and circulation issues can worsen the noise in your ears, which in turn causes you more anxiety and stress.
Your Immune System
Stress weakens your immune system, which puts you at a higher risk of contracting illnesses. Infections and inflammation can damage your ear’s hair cells resulting in hearing loss.
Protect Your Hearing From Stress
Here’s a step-by-step guide to managing stress:
- Figuring out where your stress is coming from is the first step toward effective stress management. Walk yourself through your day and identify what is causing your irritation.
- Step back from your problem. After you identify the root of your distress, take some time to reassess your situation.
- Discuss your stressor with a loved one. They may be able to provide you with a new perspective or insight.
- A life without pleasure and fun can be very taxing, so it’s important to find ways to unwind. Read a good book, watch your favorite movie or try a new hobby. Breathing exercises are another easy way to recenter your mind.
- A good workout can help ease stress as well. Aerobic and strength exercises improve circulation and release feel-good endorphins that can reduce stress.