Everyone feels stress occasionally, and for some of us, it can seriously disrupt health and well-being. While some stress can be a good thing to help us power through difficult or dangerous situations, those who have daily stress usually see it from family life or the workplace. Lots of stress can lead to health issues like tension headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, depression, and anxiety.

Stress can also affect hearing loss and tinnitus — and can sometimes cause them.

According to new research from Sweden, those who report stress related to poor sleep, bad health, or the workplace are also more likely to experience hearing loss and tinnitus. This might not come as a surprise to those who experience tinnitus, because the two are closely related. For many it’s a vicious cycle: Stress makes tinnitus more noticeable, which creates more stress in daily life.

Those with a hearing loss that affects speech comprehension also know the struggle of straining to understand spoken words, particularly in a noisy environment. Understanding speech in noise is a constant struggle for those with a hearing impairment, but new technology has focused specifically on making speech in noise clearer through the use of directional microphones and technology that emphasizes soft speech sounds.

Stress is an unfortunate part of life, but if we don’t learn to manage it, it can control our lives to a greater degree than we realize. Hearing aids have been shown to improve quality of life and to lessen stress for those with a hearing impairment — including tinnitus. The more you wear them, the better you can train your brain to understand speech and make your tinnitus symptoms less noticeable.