The bad news is that chronic stress can actually degrade your hearing.
Lucky that 2020 has been so stress-free.
Where’s the good news? Well, in this case, there isn’t any — though there are ways to mitigate this reality.
Hearing is not the only area of health that is negatively impacted by stress. This list is, unfortunately, long and well-known: a whole host of cardiovascular impacts (diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease), a weakened immune system, and numerous mental health effects are put at risk by stress.
And why is hearing health part of that list? Because the finely-tuned apparatus of the ear is very dependent on the efficiency of the body’s cardiovascular system. This is especially true of the sensory hair cells that are a critical part of the ear. Without them, electrical signals are not sent to the brain after sound waves have been collected by other parts of the ear. And without good blood flow, these hairs can die off — and unlike outer body hair, they don’t regenerate.
This is yet another reason to mitigate your stress level. Here are some tips (other than turning off the news):
- Take regular breaks from stress-inducing situations. This will do wonders.
- Even just 20 minutes of exercise a day is proven to lower chronic stress.
- Did you know that when facial muscles put a smile on your face that signals are sent to the brain that release endorphins (our natural happy pills)?
- Humans are designed to enjoy social interaction.
- Forms of meditation — common across human cultures — positively impact the body.
It’s been a long year. For the sake of your hearing — and everything else — try to manage the stress as best you can.