Mature friends outside getting exercise to help reduce stress and tinnitus

Stress Awareness Month: How Long-Term Stress Connects to Tinnitus

Stress Awareness Month: How Long-Term Stress Connects to Tinnitus

April is National Stress Awareness Month. The purpose is to bring attention to the negative impact stress has on overall health and well-being. In recent years studies have shown a connection between long-term stress/anxiety and tinnitus.

Discover how the two are connected and what you can do to stop the cycle.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus itself is not a condition, but rather a symptom of another underlying problem. The number one indicator of tinnitus is when you hear a noise in your head or ears that is not externally present; this could be a buzzing, humming, ringing, whistling, or whooshing sound. Tinnitus can vary from person to person, affecting everyone differently.

For those who experience bothersome tinnitus, the loudness and frequency can be so severe it interrupts concentration and sleep. This can lead to fatigue and exacerbated stress.

Connection Between Stress and Tinnitus

A common cause of tinnitus is excessive or long-term stress/anxiety. Stress factors and hormones in the endocrine system can affect the auditory system and interactions within these systems have been proposed to induce tinnitus. When tinnitus occurs, it can be distracting, affecting concentration and sleep quality. This can lead to a spike in stress hormone, which in turn makes the tinnitus worse. The cycle can seem daunting and never ending in some cases.

In a study of 180 participants who had chronic tinnitus, up to 45% present had clinically relevant anxiety symptoms. Studies have also shown after using stress questionnaires in tinnitus patients, found a high prevalence of self-reported levels of stress.

How to Stop the Cycle

It can be difficult to stop the cycle of stress and tinnitus. Because tinnitus itself is a symptom, focus should be on finding the root case of stress or anxiety. Counseling, therapy, yoga, meditation, and exercise are all holistic ways to decrease stress levels and promote a healthier lifestyle. Some tips for reducing stress include:

  • Recognize and counter the signs of stress
  • Take time for yourself
  • Try new routines
  • Stay connected and make new friends
  • Seek help through a professional
  • Exercise
  • Try meditation

Tinnitus Treatments at Rainier Hearing

If you feel your stress is under control yet you are still suffering from persistent ringing in the ears, there are other options. At Rainier Hearing, we carry tinnitus masking hearing aids that can help alleviate your perception of tinnitus by playing soothing sounds in your ears. These hearing aids have programs that are controlled by an app on your phone, so you can choose from different soundscapes when your tinnitus becomes bothersome.

We offer hearing aids for the people of Everett, Mill Creek, and Lake Stevens that can help manage ringing in the ears. If you have bothersome tinnitus, contact us today for an appointment.