Tinnitus durch Stress

Stress-induced tinnitus

"It's stress-related" is what many tinnitus patients are told if other causes of ringing in the ears have been ruled out. In fact, studies point to a connection between stress and tinnitus, but how can this form of tinnitus be treated? This article explains.

Correlation between tinnitus and stress

Current studies indicate a connection between tinnitus and stress intensity and duration. Findings point in both directions, i.e. stress favors tinnitus, but tinnitus also causes stress. Stress-induced tinnitus is classified as subjective tinnitus - ear noises that are only perceived by you and cannot be heard from the outside. Such tinnitus can have psychosomatic causes without the presence of a physical illness. Acute feelings of stress accompanied by tinnitus can certainly be seen as a warning signal from the psyche.

However, stress does not necessarily have to be an emotional sensation. Physical complaints such as tension in the neck and jaw area are also perceived by the body as a state of stress. If the symptoms intensify, this indicates that suitable steps to reduce stress have not yet been taken. The persistent ringing in the ears in turn potentially increases the perception of stress, resulting in a healthy vicious circle.

Stress-related tinnitus triggers

Psychological and mental stress is mainly caused by overwork in everyday life. Possible stress factors include pressure at school/training/studies, but also crises in family and relationships. Mental illnesses such as depression, eating disorders, burnout, sleep disorders and addictions can also be accompanied by stress-related tinnitus. Other common stressors are social isolation, lack of recognition, anxiety and excessive demands.

Stress-related tinnitus treatment

For successful treatment, the stressors should first be identified. This process is not always easy and often very time-consuming. If the stress is the result of emotional strain, psychotherapy, but also cognitive behavioral therapy, which can be guided by an audiologist, are treatment options. In general, stress reduction and positive distraction are recommended. The following methods are helpful:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Exercise therapy
  • Creative therapy
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • MBSR (Mindfullness-Based Stress Reduction)
  • Avoid or minimize foods such as coffee, alcohol and industrial sugar
  • Avoid or minimize the consumption of nicotine

Many also rely on background noises to mask the ringing in the ears, for example with sound machines, sound therapy, apps or via hearing aids. However, what actually helps those affected by stress-related tinnitus remains very individual, as both stressors and relaxing activities can look different. It is therefore important to incorporate relaxation, mindfulness and beneficial distraction into your everyday life - whatever that looks like for you personally.