Can Stress Lead To Hearing Loss?

Stress is an important part of life, and even an important factor in decision-making. Also known as the fight or flight response, our physical reaction to stress can alert you when you should flee a dangerous situation, or it can give you the adrenaline needed to defend yourself and stand your ground. However, excessive stress on a daily basis can harm your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. Here are the various effects that stress can have on your body and your hearing loss.

How does stress affect your body?

One of the most noticeable physical manifestations of stress is an increase in adrenaline, which causes you to breathe faster. This is your body’s way of speedily sending oxygen to your muscles so that they can act quickly. Adrenaline is a hormone that suppresses your immune, digestive, sleep and reproductive systems. Therefore, when you are constantly stressed, your body does not know when to revert back to its normal state, the way it does after experiencing short bouts of stress (such as acute or traumatic stress). Therefore, constant stress can result in illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

How can stress lead to hearing loss?

Anything that affects your circulation – such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes – will negatively impact your hearing. This is because the miniscule sensory hairs within your inner ears rely on proper circulation to function correctly. Without good circulation, the sensory hairs are unable to translate the sounds your ears collect into electrical impulses that the brain then deciphers.

Each sensory hair is responsible for translating specific frequencies, meaning that once any hairs are damaged, the ability to send a particular message is also compromised. This is the process of sensorineural hearing loss, which is irreversible. Furthermore, poor circulation can also lead to pulsatile tinnitus, which is the experience of rhythmic ear noise that pulsates to the beat of one’s heartbeat.

How can I reduce stress?

As sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible, we recommend making a conscious effort to reduce your stress levels in order to protect yourself from hearing loss due to poor circulation. Here are some simple yet effective ways to manage your stress.

Exercise

Putting aside just twenty minutes of your daily routine for exercise can significantly reduce your stress levels. Physical activity, whether it’s just a brisk walk or yoga, can manage your
stress hormones and restore your body to a more relaxed state.

Regulate your sleeping pattern

Get into the habit of practicing sound sleep hygiene in order to regulate your sleeping pattern. This means refraining from using technology at least an hour before bed and relaxing by reading a book or meditating. It also beneficial to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day in order to establish a routine.

Try relaxation techniques

Something as simple as learning different breathing techniques can do wonders for stress relief. This is because deep breathing exercises awaken your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the relaxation response. Focusing on your breath is an effective way of slowing your heartbeat and allowing yourself to feel calmer.

Contact our experienced audiologists at The Art of Hearing

At The Art of Hearing, our experienced Perth audiologists are dedicated to your hearing health. Whether you are concerned about your hearing or are due for your next hearing check, our team is here to help. For more information about what causes hearing loss and tips on how to relieve stress, contact The Art of Hearing through our website or by calling (08) 9390 8811.