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Is Tinnitus Caused By Stress

Can Depression Cause Tinnitus

Stress Tinnitus Caused By Stress, Anxiety and Traumatic Life Events

Tinnitus is often described as a persistent ringing, hissing, humming, or buzzing sound in the ears. The noise is not coming from anything externally, and the person experiencing it is the only one that can hear it. It can range from low to high pitch and interview with hearing.

Tinnitus is a disease or condition by itself it is a symptom of a more significant problem. Most tinnitus is related to age-related hearing loss, damage due to exposure to loud noises, the blockage caused by excessive earwax, or ear bone changes. These are the most common causes, but tinnitus can also be caused by Menieres disease, TMJ disorders, acoustic neuroma, eustachian tube dysfunction, ear muscle spasms, or head injuries.

High blood pressure, blood flow issues, tumors, and poorly formed capillaries can lead to tinnitus. Taking some antibiotics, cancer medications, antidepressants, aspirin, and diuretics an also lead to tinnitus. Due to the full range of conditions and medications that can cause tinnitus, it is essential to let your doctor know when it is happening. It could be a fixable situation. It could also be lifesaving if it leads to the discovery of a more significant health problem. You can get more valuable information and resources at

If I Have Tinnitus Will I Develop Depression

In part, cause and effect is hard to pin down because major depressive disorder can develop for a large number of reasons. Tinnitus can also occur for a number of reasons. In most cases, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing in your ears. Occasionally, the sound changes , but the root idea is the same. Usually, chronic tinnitus, the kind that doesnt go away after a couple of hours or days, is caused by noise damage over a long period of time.

But there can be more acute causes for chronic tinnitus. Traumatic brain injuries, as an example, have been known to cause long lasting ringing in the ears. And at times, tinnitus can even develop for no discernible reason at all.

So will you experience depression if you suffer from chronic tinnitus? The wide range of causes of tinnitus can make that tough to know. But it is clear that your risks increase if you neglect your tinnitus. The following reasons may help make sense of it:

  • It can be a difficulty to do things you like, such as reading when you have tinnitus.
  • For many individuals it can be an aggravating and draining undertaking to attempt to cope with the sounds of tinnitus that wont go away.
  • You might end up socially isolating yourself because the ringing and buzzing causes you to have problems with social communication.

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Causes And Risk Factors

How tinnitus occurs in the ear is not clear. Scientists suspect causes in the inner ear, but also other causes can trigger tinnitus such as an acute hearing loss, hearing impairment, injuries to the cervical vertebrae or an acoustic shock

But stress, anxiety, excessive demands and physical illnesses can also lead to tinnitus along with foreign bodies in the ear and too much ear wax.

Other risk factors and illnesses can lead to tinnitus:

  • Middle ear infections
  • Eardrum defect
  • Perilymphatic fistulas .

In general, tinnitus is not an illness itself, but rather a symptom. This symptom can have numerous accompanying symptoms, which can negatively impact the individual quality of life of the person impacted. Some of these accompanying symptoms are:

  • Irritability
  • Increased sensitivity to noises
  • Headaches
  • Ear pain

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Reduce Tinnitus Symptoms Get Started With Meditation

Meditation takes many forms and you may need to experiment to find what works for you. You may find that its easier to meditate by yourself, or you may get more results by meditating as part of a mindfulness group. In any case, here are a few tips on how to get started with meditation to reduce tinnitus:

  • Find a quiet place to sit upright in a comfortable chair.
  • Avoid using noise-makers or loud music for this meditation. You need to be able to hear your tinnitus so that youll realize when you dont anymore.
  • Breathe deeply and slowly. A person who is stressed breathes shallowly and quickly. Train your body to breathe deeply. Youll instantly feel more relaxed.
  • If you cant bear sitting in the silence, listen to a guided meditation that speaks to you or focus intently on each breath.
  • Sit as still and as quietly as you can.
  • If you become aware of a distraction like ringing in the ears, dont resist it. Instead, focus your energy on another part of your body like your leg. As you do this, youll notice that the distraction goes away.
  • If a thought wanders into your mind, dont stress about the fact that youre thinking. Instead, imagine the thought drifting away like a leaf in a stream.
  • At first, youll have lots of leaves floating on that stream. It may even be hard to see the water in your mind. But if you stick with a meditation schedule, they become fewer and fewer.

    Stress Induced Tinnitus Exacerbations

    Causes of Tinnitus (Ringing in Ears Causes)

    Studies have also shown that stress can make tinnitus worse. Once again, it’s not always clear whether tinnitus simply is more noticeable, or if the noise has actually become louder, but there is a great deal of evidence that stress affects the tinnitus experience. Since anxiety is essentially persistent stress, it stands to reason that those with anxiety and tinnitus would be more likely to experience a worsening of the symptoms.

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    Does Stress Make Tinnitus Worse

    First, let’s establish that nearly everyone experiences stress at least at some point in their life, and usually, stress exists on a continuum: some days you may feel mildly stressed by a temporary event like a road closure on your way to work, and other days you may feel profound stress due to multiple stressors such as work, family, health, and finances.

    Acute stress can arise from stressors, which are events or things that cause you to feel stressed. Examples of stressors include but are not limited to:

    • Pressure at work and/or school
    • Finances
    • Demands of home or family life
    • Health conditions or exacerbations thereof
    • Not having enough time to complete self care or important tasks
    • Experiencing negative events

    Could Clearing Your Mind Clear Up Your Tinnitus

    Desperate to clear up your tinnitus? Studies show that meditation can reduce your tinnitus symptoms and get you relief from ringing in your ears.

    According to the American Tinnitus Association, more than 50 million Americans suffer from some form of tinnitus, which includes 2 million with debilitating cases. To some, the ringing or buzzing sound in one or both ears is a nuisance throughout the day that can be ignored. For others, the persistent noise makes it hard to hear, relax, and even sleep, leading to more serious health problems.

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    How To Manage Stress

    The first step in managing stress is to identify your stressors and then to think about how you feel when you experience them. It can be helpful to consider how you might think or feel differently about them such that you are able to re-categorize the stressors as neutral or non-threatening.

    A safe and effective method for changing your thoughts and emotions about stressors is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy . The components of CBT techniques include:

  • Becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions.
  • Challenging your thoughts and emotions.
  • Reframing negative thoughts and emotions as neutral or non-threatening.
  • There are several questions you can ask yourself to evaluate your thoughts and emotions:

  • What evidence exists to support your thoughts and emotions?
  • What evidence exists to challenge your thoughts end emotions?
  • What advice would you give to a good friend in the same position?
  • Are your thoughts and emotions helpful?
  • How Would I Recognize Tinnitus

    Stress Causes Tinnitus

    Tinnitus is a symptom that can be triggered by many different causes. Not all cases of tinnitus are the same it can vary with regard to intensity, frequency, duration and cause. Tinnitus can be divided into four categories: acute, chronic, subjective and objective.

    For those impacted, it is important to not underestimate tinnitus, but rather to observe and understand it. When does it occur? When are the noises alleviated? Do certain movements of the head make the tinnitus more tolerable? Does the tinnitus occur on one or both sides? All of this information helps the physician determine the type and possible cause.

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    Stress And The Hpa Axis

    Both acute and chronic stress were demonstrated to influence the glutamate neurotransmission and in this way contribute to the neuronal plasticity . Induction of neuronal plasticity was shown to be possible by generation of changes on a pre-synaptic and/or post-synaptic level .

    Glutamate is an abandoned neurotransmitter in CNS and is involved in the process of memory, learning, and also in the auditory processing. Special feature of glutamate circuits is their involvement in the process of plasticity, for the reason that glutamate and glutamate receptors NMDAR and AMPAR regulate the strength and function of neuronal synapses. To date, mechanisms determined as responsible for the synaptic plasticity are glutamate receptors related long-term potentiation and long-term depression . In addition, changes in AMPAR composition and density on the synapses were shown to be essential for the plasticity process.

    Pre-synaptic neuronal plasticity can be mediated by changes in glutamate transport. Predominant type of glutamate transporter present in the organ of Corti is GLAST/EAAT1 . Upregulation of GLAST/EAAT1 was demonstrated in astrocytes of animals subjected to chronic physical stress . However, the influence of stress or glucocorticoids on cochlear GLAST/EAAT1 is still unknown.

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    What If You Cant Tune Out Your Tinnitus

    If silence and meditation arent working, try a low-level background noise. You dont want to expose yourself to loud noise, but you may be able to drown it out with white noise such as a fan, or by using a tinnitus masker.

    Still, hearing ringing in your ears? Here are more ideas to clear up your tinnitus symptoms.

    Page medically reviewed by Kevin St. Clergy, Audiologist, on April 28, 2020.

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    Typical Causes Of Tinnitus

    When medical professionals and subject matter experts discuss the causes of tinnitus, stress and anxiety is not usually on the list. Typical causes of tinnitus include:

    • Hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss and hearing loss caused by damage to the ear are both believed to be causes of tinnitus.
    • Head or neck injuries. Head and neck injuries, including cases of traumatic brain injury, can cause tinnitus. When the cause of the tinnitus is an injury, the sound and volume heard may vary more than other types of tinnitus.
    • Certain medications. Some medications can cause tinnitus. Symptoms usually go away when the medication is discontinued.
    • Blockages. Ear canal blockages, caused by ear wax, dirt, foreign objects, hair and even head congestion can cause temporary tinnitus. The sounds go away when the blockage is removed.

    Emotional And Psychological Trauma

    How Tinnitus Would Damage Your Impression of the World

    Certain events or occurrences in our lives can cause emotional trauma. These events may be one-time events like attacks, accidents, injury, surgery, breakups, layoffs, or the death of a loved one. Ongoing events like domestic violence, abuse, chronic and life-threatening ailments like cancer, kidney, and tinnitus may also trigger emotional trauma.

    The way we react and respond to trauma differs from person to person. While some display emotional and psychological symptoms, others display physical symptoms or a combination of both.

    Emotional and psychological symptoms may include

    • Depression, fear, and anxiety
    • Withdrawal and difficulty connecting with your loved ones, friends, and co-worker

    Physical symptoms of emotional trauma may include:

    • Fatigue, insomnia, and nightmares
    • Inability to concentrate and execute daily work tasks
    • Muscle tension, aches, pains, and discomfort
    • Disturbing sounds in one or both ears

    Psychiatric disorders like stress, depression, anxiety, and emotional trauma can increase tinnitus, especially for patients with severe underlying health conditions.

    Patients suffering from chronic tinnitus are pegged by the frequent sounds in their ear or head and cannot fully relax, rest, or enjoy sleep. Lack of adequate rest can lead to emotional trauma symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, mental and physical exhaustion.

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    How Can Tinnitus Trigger Anxiety

    The reality is that researchers are not entirely sure how anxiety triggers tinnitus, but they know that many people with anxiety can get tinnitus.

    Anxiety activates the fight or flight system, which puts a lot of pressure on nerves, and increases blood flow, body heat, and more. This pressure and stress are very likely to travel up into your inner ear and lead to the tinnitus experience.

    But most of these episodes are short-lived. It pops up at the height of an anxiety attack and then goes away quickly. That doesnt explain why so many people suffer long-term tinnitus. Experts firmly agree that fear is not likely to cause tinnitus. Instead, anxiety can trigger a mentality that makes us more likely to develop tinnitus.

    Theory : Tinnitus As An Alarm

    One theory is that tinnitus serves as a stress alarm. In many people, when theyre stressed, tinnitus works like an alarm signal. At its onset, the body uses it to inform you that something is wrong or that something potentially dangerous is happening.

    Its a normal response to stress. Its probably why only 2% of people experience disabling tinnitus. And disabling tinnitus only occurs when the stress or stressor has been present for a very long time. Or among those who cannot switch off the alarm.

    The fact that psychotherapy is an effective treatment for tinnitus supports this theory.

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    How To Get Your Mind Off Tinnitus

    People rarely suffer from tinnitus alone. High blood pressure, anxiety, depression, teeth grinding, diet, lifestyle choices, and some medications can all contribute to this miserable condition, for which there is no cure. If you suffer from one of these conditions, treating it can help reduce symptoms to a level you can ignore.

    Hearing specialists have worked over the years to develop several treatments that reduce tinnitus symptoms. Some are as simple as making changes to your diet, while others take advantage of advances in medical technology. Still, others treat the mental health aspect of tinnitus through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy .

    Recently, hearing specialists in the U.K. have combined CBT treatments with mindfulness training, which is a form of meditationand the results have been promising. Of the 25 patients who took part in the meditation study, 80 percent reported a significant reduction in tinnitus symptoms.

    So how can meditation so effectively clear up tinnitus symptoms? First, discover why stress can make tinnitus worse, then find out why meditation is a powerful option.

    Can Stress Cause Tinnitus

    Stress Tinnitus Treatment

    Stress affects our health in many ways and is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. Usually, its when our resources do not match the demands made on us. Some hearing conditions, such as tinnitus, can be brought on by stress, injuries or neurological and metabolic disorders .

    Many of us experience stress at work or from a busy family life and those environments are often noisy ones too. This is particularly prevalent at the moment, with additional worries about the pandemic and some of us are working from home and juggling a tricky work-life balance. Whilst others, like our wonderful key-workers, will be working tirelessly in high pressure environments like hospitals or busy warehouses.

    Mind has reported an increase of 51% of adults saying their mental health has worsened over the pandemic.

    Stress affects your hearing in many ways. Almost everything that restricts your circulationheart disease, diabetes, smoking, fight or flight responsecan negatively impact your hearing.

    When youre stressed, the extra adrenaline can decrease or stop circulation in the inner ear, damaging or even destroying the essential tiny hair cells inside of your ear. Once they’re damaged these hair cells won’t regenerate so this can lead to permanent hearing loss.

    The exact cause of tinnitus is still not determined. However, tinnitus symptoms can occur for a number of reasons, including stress, loud noises and ear wax blockages .

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    Tinnitus And Loud Noise

    Loud noise will make tinnitus worse. To avoid further exposure to loud noise:

    • wear ear protection such as earmuffs or earplugs for activities such as mowing the lawn, using a chainsaw or playing or listening to live music
    • be aware of how loud is too loud if you have to shout to make yourself heard when someone is standing about one metre from you, the noise level is too loud and will make your tinnitus worse
    • if you use headphones to listen to music or other audio content, use noise cancelling headphones to block out background noise and enable you to keep the volume low. Its recommended that you keep the volume to lower than 80 per cent, and limit your listening to no more than 90 minutes per day.

    Tinnitus: The Sound Of Stress

    How does stress influence tinnitus? Tinnitus has been described as the sound of stress.

    Tinnitus and stress can be demonstrated as a “vicious cycle”: when tinnitus occurs it can evoke feelings of annoyance, anger, despair, sadness, and loss of control. These feelings can lead to stress, which can in turn make tinnitus seem worse.

    The vicious cycle of tinnitus is explained by the neurophysiological model of tinnitus that begins with a change in hearing, followed by an awareness of or attention to the change in hearing, and finally, the change in hearing is perceived as a threat to safety by the limbic system . The depth of the emotional response is driven by the limbic system, and calming this response is key to improving tinnitus severity.

    One technique you can use to interrupt the vicious cycle is to challenge your thoughts and beliefs about tinnitus: Is the tinnitus in fact louder? Doesn’t it always get softer or go away?

    Are your thoughts and emotions about tinnitus helpful or even conducive to improving the tinnitus? Consider what is under your control to improve your tinnitus.

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