Stress and Hearing Problems – Is There a Connection?

You may not know this but stress plays a role in the development of hearing problems like tinnitus and hearing loss. A study done by researchers in Stockholm, Sweden found a link between various stressors and the high incidence of hearing problems among working individuals.

The Study

A total number of 18,734 individuals were invited to join the study. They were sent a 120-question survey where they were asked about their stressors. These include work environment, psychosocial environment, physical health, mental health, sleep quality, chronic medical illnesses, among others. Included in the survey are questions related to hearing problems.

Of those who were sent the questionnaire, 9,765 working individuals responded and were included in the study. Among the participants, 31% of them reported that they have hearing problems, while 25% complained of tinnitus and 6% complained of both. The results of the survey also revealed that the hearing problems’ incidence increased with age. It was also higher among the working individuals who have a lower self-rated socioeconomic status.

The researchers found that there was a strong correlation between hearing problems and high stressors at work. These stressors include risk of losing his job, risk of getting fired, and risk of being moved or relocated to another job. As for health stressors, individuals who have chronic illnesses, long-term disabilities, and poorer sleep quality have more hearing problems compared to those who don’t.

Participants who also scored higher in burnout and performance-based self-esteem tests complained of more hearing problems. So did those who reported symptoms associated with long-lasting stress.

Clearly, the study revealed that stress – be it health or work related – does contribute to hearing problems such as tinnitus and hearing loss.

Managing Stress to Reduce Hearing Problem Risks

Hearing loss is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, but you can reduce your risk by learning how to manage your stress:

  • Talk to someone about your problems; it helps a lot in easing your emotional burden.
  • Find pleasure by doing what you love most. These activities include reading a book, going on a mini vacation with your loved ones, watching a movie, or visiting friends. The important thing is that you walk away from your stressor, relax, and enjoy your time.
  • It would also help if you learn relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation.