Hearing Loss and Stress

"Until your brain learns to adjust to the new aural input, you may have a heightened sense of awareness to the sounds you haven't heard in a long time." - Carol of Expert Hearing in North Delta, BC

My hearing loss is probably the result of a combination of things including genetics, frequent ear infections in my teens, working in swimming pools and classrooms, the medication I've been on for rheumatoid arthritis and maybe, just maybe, it's presbycusis. There is also evidence that certain auto-immune diseases may contribute to hearing loss, but I don't know if that is the case for me.

The type of hearing loss I have is in the high frequency range; sounds like [s], [t] and [ch] are often lost or misheard. When I first began wearing my hearing aids, I was acutely aware of the noise my hair made as it brushed against my Gore-Tex® jacket, the gurgling of water as it went down the drain and the clickety-clack of the dog's nails as she walked across the tiled floor. For a person with good hearing, those sounds are normally tuned out. The brain has become accustomed to them and realizes that they are usually insignificant in general day-to-day hearing.

Some thoughts about hearing loss

  1. Hearing loss is exhausting. Your brain is working hard to decode what you hear. How many times can you say "Pardon me?" before it exhausts and frustrates you and others?
  2. Hearing loss is isolating. You miss out on conversations. You may not be an active participant in conversations. Sometimes it is easier just to stay at home than it is to work so hard to hear.
  3. Hearing loss takes away from the enjoyment of life - conversations, music, movies, television and much more.
  4. Hearing loss is expensive.

It's not unlike stress, which is exhausting, isolating, limiting and expensive.

There is one more commonality between hearing loss and stress; in most cases, both are correctable. With hearing loss, you can learn how to implement hearing strategies. When you combine them with the purchase of your hearing aids, you augment your ability to hear. With stress, you learn techniques and practice with the tools in order to transform your stress and augment, and in many cases, improve your health and well-being.

Your heart, which, incidentally, has "ear" and "hear" in it, is the key to transforming stress. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the way in which the heart speeds up and slows down from beat to beat. When you are immersed in negative thoughts and emotions your heart rhythms become jagged. Signals are then sent to the brain, releasing a cascade of chemicals which activate one of the triplets of the stress response – flight, fight or freeze.

When you implement and practice stress techniques, you learn to change your heart rhythm pattern. A smoother rhythm results in performance enhancement and you begin to feel better emotionally, mentally, physically and even spiritually. That's pretty good work for that fist-sized organ.

Hear the calling of your heart

Who are you when you are stressed?

What can you do about it?

When are you going to do something to transform your stress?

Where can you go to learn more? (Hint: you're right where you need to be to learn more!)

Why is this important to you?

How much longer are you willing to suffer the consequences of undressed stress?

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