When you think about factors in your life that cause stress, you might think of some of the obvious answers: your job, family responsibilities, or current events. However, did you know that hearing loss can cause stress too? Here is how hearing loss and stress are connected.
The Connection between Hearing Loss and Stress
Untreated hearing loss can lead to increased stress levels. This is because people with untreated hearing loss often experience what is known as listening fatigue. Listening fatigue is what happens when you constantly need to concentrate on speech, social cues, or lipreading to try to understand what is being said to you. Untreated hearing loss can cause you to feel exhausted without doing extra physical work because of the mental work required.
Listening fatigue is common among both children and adults with untreated hearing loss. It can result in increased stress due to the strain of trying to understand speech and other sounds. Thankfully, there is good news: you can reduce both listening fatigue and stress by wearing hearing aids.
The Link between Tinnitus and Stress
Yes, tinnitus can cause stress as well. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, has an interesting relationship with stress. As you might expect, a constant ringing in the ears can make you feel stressed or on edge. In addition, stress can make tinnitus worse.
People with tinnitus often report that their tinnitus worsens during times of increased stress. One study that polled people with tinnitus found that 53.6 percent of respondents said that their tinnitus began during a stressful time of their life. Furthermore, 52.8 percent of people polled reported that their tinnitus increased during a stressful period.
As with hearing loss, using hearing aids can reduce tinnitus. A study conducted among hearing professionals found that approximately 60 percent of patients reported mild to major relief from tinnitus when wearing hearing aids. About 20 percent of hearing professionals said their patients reported major relief from tinnitus thanks to hearing aids. Hearing aids can be an effective treatment for both hearing loss and tinnitus, which can in turn reduce your stress levels.
The Importance of Managing Stress
Why is it important to manage your stress levels? Overall, stress can have detrimental effects on your body. High stress levels can contribute to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Stress can also cause headaches, jaw pain, poor sleep, trouble concentrating, changes in appetite, frequent mood swings, and feeling overwhelmed. Treating your hearing loss or tinnitus can be one step in managing your stress levels and taking care of your health.
Some other effective ways to manage stress include:
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough sleep
- Spending time with family and friends
- Making time to enjoy your hobbies
- Using breathing exercises
- Managing your time and prioritizing your responsibilities
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs
- Eating well
- Talking to friends, family, or a counselor about what is stressing you
To learn more about how you can manage stress and to set up an appointment with our hearing healthcare specialist, we welcome you to contact our practice today.