With April being stress awareness month we thought what better time to raise awareness of stress-induced hearing loss and also look at some ways to reduce stress levels if you are currently feeling stressed.
What Is Stress?
Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. When you are feeling stressed your body starts to release 3 hormones called Adrenaline, Cortisol and Norepinephrine.
Adrenaline, also known as the fight or flight hormone, increases your heart rate and provides a quick surge of energy.
Norepinephrine acts very similar to Adrenaline and makes you more alert and focused.
Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone. It acts slower than Adrenaline and Norepinephrine and works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear.
Signs That You Are Stressed
There are multiple physical, mental and behavioural signs that you are feeling stressed. These can include headaches, a fast heartbeat, worrying about the future/past, imagining the worst, feeling irritable, not being able to concentrate, crying, eating more/less than normal and sleeping problems to name a few.
Stress-Induced Hearing Loss
When your body is dealing with a stressful situation the overproduction of the 3 hormones above can affect blood flow to the ears, affecting hearing. Your inner ear has many fragile hair cells that rely on a constant flow of blood to keep everything in working order. Being stressed short term will not have any lasting effects however chronic stress disturbs the blood circulation throughout the body including the hair cells which can become damaged over time.
Ways To Deal With Stress
Modern life is full of stressful situations, however, it is important not only for your hearing but also for your overall general health to keep stress levels to a minimum. If you are feeling stressed try one or more of the below tips:
Take A Break
This one is simple but can be very effective. If possible remove yourself from the stressful situation which can help you to gain some perspective to help you feel less overwhelmed.
Talk To Someone
You must have heard of the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved? Talk to your family, close friends or your work boss if the problem is work-related. Talking to someone can make you feel immediately better and you could even uncover a new perspective or solution to your current problem that is causing your stress.
Regular exercise has many health benefits including helping to deal with stress. When you work out your body produces endorphins which act as natural painkillers and can create a general feeling of well-being.
Maybe this is something you have never tried before but simple breathing techniques can help the mind and body relax and focus.
Make Time For Things You Enjoy
Finally, take some time to enjoy yourself and unwind by setting time aside for things that you enjoy doing. This could be swimming, horse riding, reading your favourite book or drawing. You could even start a new hobby or get around to doing ‘that thing’ you have really wanted to do for some time but have been putting off for one reason or another.