You’ve probably heard that chronic stress can do a number on your cardiovascular system, negatively impacting blood pressure and being a harbinger of diabetes and heart disease.
But because of those facts, it can also lead to hearing loss.
This is because the tiny apparatus of the middle and inner ear are very dependent on healthy blood circulation for the delivery of nutrients. And there are parts that, once degraded, cannot be rejuvenated after-the-fact. This is especially true of the system of sensory hair cells that, working together, capture the broad range of frequencies we hear. If too high a proportion of these hairs cease to function — which can happen when they are not properly nourished — then the array of sounds that can be processed is curtailed.
And a condition is known as pulsatile tinnitus — when a pulsating noise can be heard emanating from the inside of the ear — can be caused by high blood pressure.
Not that the year 2020 has done anything to our collective stress levels, but here are some things to keep in mind.
First, breaks are always your friend. Getting up to stretch, go for a walk, or do almost anything that gives your mind and body a rest after bearing down in concentration for an extended period will help immensely by breaking the cycle of stress.
More broadly, exercise and/or forms of meditation have been shown to not just relax your mind but also balance the hormones that, when coursing through your bloodstream, have a huge impact on stress levels and cardiovascular health.
Foods with omega-3 fatty acids — salmon, tuna, and avocados are some of the best-known sources — are known to help mediate stress-related issues.
If chronic stress is an obvious issue, talking to a healthcare professional is recommended, since it can lead to a range of negative outcomes — including hearing loss.