According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, stress, fear, physical exercise and anxiety can all increase your earwax production!
The glands in your ear that help to secrete earwax are a class of glands, called the apocrine glands, are also responsible for your smelliest sweat. Yuck!
Similar to how stress can make you sweat more (and smell worse), it (along with additional strong emotional responses, like fear or anxiety) trigger the “fight or flight” response which can also increase your earwax production... interesting, right?
Additional research suggests that anxiety also affects your ears and hearing.
Keep reading to find out more!
4 Ways Anxiety Affects Your Ears & Hearing
According to Calm Clinic, your ears and your hearing are surprisingly sensitive to change.
When anxiety is classified as a complete body condition, it can impact your earwax production as well as hearing.
A symptom of anxiety is how your body reacts to stress. When stressed, your body can increase earwax production as a result of the stimulation of the apocrine (sweat) glands.
Furthermore, stress can cause your body to change how your mind interprets sound. These symptoms are known as “perceived changes” which means the symptom isn’t physical, it is how your mind converts the information.
There are various issues related to anxiety that affect hearing, and not all of them are understood.
Here are a few:
1. Trouble focusing on sound:
- During intense anxiety and stress when the brain can’t focus, it is not uncommon to find yourself “zoning out” to your thoughts, unable to pay attention to the world around you
- This means that you may not be able to hear everything someone says while talking to you
- It is not that you're not hearing them, instead, your brain is simply not processing the information
2. Noticing unusual sounds:
- Anxiety can also make you more prone to feeling “on edge”
- That means that you may start to notice sounds and noises that you hadn’t noticed before
- When experiencing anxiety, people can often hear every little creak, bump, etc.
- Auditory hallucinations are rare- but they can happen
- Hearing voices is incredibly rare and may be a sign of another issue
- Some people may hear pops or strange noises that no one else can hear
- Other hallucinations are hearing a voice saying their name when it is not said
- Surprisingly, no one is exactly sure what causes these from anxiety, but it is likely that your brain is simply processing information poorly
- Tinnitus is a chronic ringing of the ears that is more common as you age
- Anxiety doesn’t create tinnitus, but studies have shown that anxiety increases the “loudness” of the ringing, as well as the perception of it
- In other words, it may be both louder and anxiety may make you prone to noticing it more
Your ears and earwax are sensitive so take care of them!