Stress can affect everything in your body, and many believe that your hearing is no exception. However, the jury is still out on how strong the connection between stress and hearing loss really is.
Several studies are reviewing the connection, and early reports indicate that stress could indeed be a factor in the development of hearing loss – especially since one type of stress is ear pain caused by noise exposure, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The NIH reports that “…stress can be physical, psychological, or due to homeostatic disturbance (blood pressure, hunger, inner ear pressure, etc.).” The conclusion is that high levels of stress hormones can generally lead to disease states.
What we do know is that blood pressure, inner ear pressure, and other physical conditions can lead to tinnitus, and hearing loss and stress can certainly be factors in some of these conditions or disease states. This indicates that stress may have an indirect effect on your hearing, even to the point of function loss.
What Is Tinnitus?
Those who suffer with tinnitus describe its most common symptom as ringing in the ears. Other symptoms can be sensations of buzzing, hissing, roaring, or clicking in the ears. The level of noise varies from person to person, and it can affect one or both ears.
In the United States, at least 10 percent of the population has experienced tinnitus at some point. About 24 million Americans say they have experienced tinnitus within the last year, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Can Tinnitus Be Cured?
Tinnitus isn’t considered a health condition but is rather a symptom of an underlying health issue, such as circulatory problems, ear injury, or normal hearing loss due to advanced age. It can also indicate a problem within the auditory nerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain. Therefore, if the underlying issue is addressed, tinnitus may be resolved.
When the auditory nerve is negatively affected, the brain cannot process sound. There are quite a few conditions that could have a negative effect on the auditory nerve – earwax (cerumen) is perhaps the simplest reason, as it obstructs the ear canal, resulting in tinnitus. Never shove anything deep into your ear, even a Q-tip – always see a doctor to remove earwax safely.
Causes of Hearing Problems
More complicated and serious conditions affecting the auditory nerve and causing hearing issues include:
- Abnormal thyroid conditions
- Heart disease
- Vascular diseases
- Ménière’s disease
- Noise-induced hearing loss
Tinnitus can be aggravated by stress or by high levels of stress hormones. However, for many, tinnitus can develop for no apparent reason, and for most people, the condition isn’t a sign of a more serious disease. However, it is very annoying and disturbing – and if it’s chronic, it can cause fatigue, depression, loss of concentration, and anxiety.
Since stress can be defined as ear pain or noise exposure, this can result in anxiety. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that a certain level of stress can be attributed to tinnitus, or that tinnitus contributes to stress levels.
Hearing Loss Help in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL
The experts at Intercoastal Medical Group can help you with your hearing loss symptoms. Let us restore your hearing so that you can enjoy life to the fullest.
To make an appointment, reach out to our Cattleridge office in Sarasota at (941)379-1800 379-1799 or our Lakewood Ranch I office in Bradenton at (941) 538-0018 362-8662. You can also send an appointment request. Our staff looks forward to hearing from you!