I know I’m not alone in saying these have been a stressful several weeks. Like you, I’ve needed to make sacrifices to keep my family, my patients and staff, and myself safe. Social distancing. Limiting trips. Extra precautions at the grocery store. A temporary pause on non-emergency appointments at the clinic.

Plus, I know many of us worry about getting sick ourselves, especially those of us who might have an underlying condition.

Even if you’ve never really let the news cycle get to you before, we all have our limits. It’s easy to develop chronic stress in an unprecented time like this. 

With this in mind, I’d like to talk with you about stress-related hearing loss.

Does stress affect hearing? It may. Here’s what we know.

Stress-Related Hearing Loss: What’s the Connection?

Although small in scope, there have been several studies linking mental well-being, or lack there off, with hearing loss. 

These studies looked at how stressful life events could impact the hearing. 

The current pandemic would definitely qualify.

They found that people in stressful life situations were more likely to have tinnitus (ringing of the ears) and sudden loss of hearing. They consider the connection very high. 

Another study found that long-term exposure to stress was a risk factor in whether or not a person would develop hearing loss.

These studies can’t answer the question one way or the other: does stress affect hearing? But we already know that stress can impact our health in other ways, such as blood pressure spikes.

Hearing may be one more of them.

What to Monitor During Quarantine

Does stress affect hearing? It’s certainly something to watch for.

Some common signs of hearing loss include:

  • Asking people to repeat
  • Confusing certain words or sounds
  • Turning the TV up louder than usual
  • Frequent misunderstandings

Tinnitus may sound like a:

  • Buzzing
  • Humming
  • Thumping
  • Ringing
  • Or other similar sound

It may get louder when you’re trying to go to sleep or sitting in a quiet room.

Ways to Reduce Stress During the Pandemic

During quarantine, please monitor your stress level. When you feel it getting out of hand, you may need to take a break from the news cycle or negative people to whatever extent you can. I know that’s easier said than done.

Some other ideas to reduce stress right now include:

  • Downloading Calm or another similar app
  • Meditation
  • Getting some exercise
  • Reducing caffeine intake
  • Streaming some peaceful music through YouTube during the day in the background

From the Professional Audiological Services family to yours, we hope you stay healthy and well. If you think you may be developing symptoms of hearing loss, know that we’re here for you. We’ve been deemed an essential business and are taking all of the extra precautions to keep you safe. 

For now, we ask that you bring no more than two people to your appointment to help us maintain a safe and sanitary environment during this time. Please call: (901) 372-0040 to schedule an appointment.

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