Is there a link between stress and tinnitus?man with stress related tinnitus

​Do you ever feel so overwhelmed in a day that you think to yourself, wow “I am so stressed “? Do you experience, from time to time, ringing in your ears or even difficulty hearing? It might surprise you that there is strong evidence that tinnitus or hearing loss is directly linked to the stress in our lives.

What is stress?

Most, or even all of us have said that at some point in our lives. the majority of us experience anxiety in a very true and tangible way. Scientifically speaking, stress is your body’s means of responding to any type of actual or psychological demand by releasing chemicals and hormones into the body which offer you power and strength. Minor stress can be a good thing. In an unsafe situation, the chemicals released enable you to fight or run away (flight). Major stress, however, can wreak havoc with your health, including with your hearing.

Stress and health statistics

The statistics around stress are frightening (WHO):

  • 43 percent of all adults experience negative health results from tension/stress
  • 75 to 90 percent of doctor’s workplace sessions are for stress-related conditions and complaints
  • Tension may be related to health problems such as high blood pressure complications, heart problems, diabetes, skin ailments, asthma, arthritis, depression and anxiety.

A collaborative study on Psychological Stress and Related health Outcomes (Karolinska Institute – Stockholm 2008) The study included a survey on how participants reported anxiety associated with mental health, physical function, lifestyle health and psychosocial function.

Stress, hearing loss and Tinnitus

Surveyed participants responded to questions about tinnitus, hearing loss, hearing health, emphasizing tinnitus and how they hear conversations. The researchers discovered that respondents reported stress-related poor sleeping and health. There were reports of tinnitus, hearing loss and hearing damage. People who experienced anxiety on the job also complained of tinnitus and hearing loss. Both men and women observed their hearing loss was better when their overall health improved.

Hearing damage is becoming a common disability

There is high agreement of opinion throughout the medical community. Hearing damage is rapidly becoming one of the most common disabilities on earth. Minimizing the stressors in your everyday life may be beneficial to your hearing health. The precise pathways of damage between stress and hearing damage remain unknown. Some types of hearing damage are not preventable but we can address the ones that involve stress as a cause.

4 Basic Stress Busters to Assist Hearing Health

  1. Self-talk. Acknowledge the stress but stay “in the moment” all-day long! Make sure you are using constructive language. It will  help handle anxiety and calm  you.
  2. Emergency Stress Stoppers. If you are getting stressed, develop a balanced, positive response to take care of the stress on the spot. Count to ten. Take a few breaths. Walk-away from the condition for some time. Repeat a prepared mantra like “I am ok”
  3. Be good to Yourself. Try and do one or more thing daily that you like, even it takes merely 15 minutes. Read a book. Have coffee with a friend. Start a new hobby or rediscover an old one.
  4. Find enjoyable Exercise. It may be running. This may be yoga, taichi or relaxation.

International studies and anecdotal accounts confirm that there is a link between hearing loss, tinnitus, and hearing health. Self-managing stress may not be sufficient to protect your hearing. Action, including an appointment with a hearing professional or audiologist, can help you develop other approaches to reduce stress and improve your hearing.