Anxiety comes in two forms. There’s common anxiety, that sensation you get when you’re involved with an emergency situation. Some people experience anxiety even when there are no specific situations or concerns to connect it to. No matter what’s going on in their lives or what’s on their mind, they often feel anxiety. It’s more of a general feeling that seems to be there all day. This sort of anxiety is normally more of a mental health problem than a neurological reaction.
Unfortunately, both forms of anxiety are pretty terrible for the human body. It can be especially harmful if you have extended or chronic anxiety. When it feels anxiety, your body produces a myriad of chemicals that raise your alert status. It’s good in the short term, but damaging over a long period of time. Over time, anxiety that can’t be treated or controlled will begin to manifest in distinct physical symptoms.
Anxiety Has Distinct Physical Symptoms
Some symptoms of anxiety are:
- Melancholy and loss of interest in day to day activities
- Physical weakness
- A pounding heart or difficulty breathing typically connected to panic attacks
- A feeling of being agitated or irritated
- Feeling like something dreadful is about to occur
- Bodily discomfort
But persistent anxiety doesn’t necessarily appear in the ways that you might predict. Indeed, there are some pretty interesting ways that anxiety could actually end up impacting things as apparently vague as your hearing. As an example, anxiety has been linked to:
- Dizziness: Prolonged anxiety can occasionally cause dizziness, which is an issue that may also be related to the ears. After all, the ears are generally responsible for your sense of balance (there are these three tubes in your inner ears that are controlling the sense of balance).
- High Blood Pressure: And some of the effects of anxiety are not at all surprising. Elevated blood pressure is one of those. Known scientifically as hypertension, high blood pressure can have many negative secondary effects on your body. It is, to use a colloquialism, bad news. High blood pressure has also been known to lead to hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness.
- Tinnitus: You probably know that stress can make the ringing your ears worse, but did you know that there’s evidence that it can also cause the ringing in your ears to develop over time. This is known as tinnitus (which can itself be caused by a lot of other factors). For some, this might even reveal itself as a feeling of blockage or clogging of the ears.
Anxiety And Hearing Loss
Typically on a hearing blog such as this we would tend to focus on, well, hearing. And how well you hear. Keeping that in mind, you’ll forgive us if we take a little time to talk about how hearing loss and anxiety can influence each other in some relatively disconcerting ways.
To start with, there’s the solitude. People often withdraw from social activities when they suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus or balance issues. You might have seen this in your own family members. Perhaps a relative just withdrew from conversations because they were embarrassed that they have to constantly repeat themselves. Problems with balance present similar difficulties. It can be difficult to admit to your family and friends that you have a difficult time driving or even walking because you have balance troubles.
There are also other ways anxiety and depression can lead to social isolation. Normally, you aren’t going to be around anyone if you’re not feeling like yourself. Unfortunately, this can be something of a loop where one feeds into the other. The negative effects of isolation can occur quickly and will lead to various other problems and can even result in mental decline. For somebody who struggles with anxiety and hearing loss, battling against that move toward isolation can be even more difficult.
Finding The Appropriate Treatment
Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, anxiety and isolation can all feed each other. That’s why getting the proper treatment is so important.
All of the symptoms for these conditions can be helped by getting treatment for your tinnitus and hearing loss. Connecting with others has been demonstrated to help reduce both anxiety and depression. Chronic anxiety is more serious when there is an overwhelming sense of solitude and managing the symptoms can be helpful with that. In order to decide what treatments are best for you, check with your doctor and your hearing specialist. Hearing aids may be the best option as part of your treatment depending on what your hearing test reveals. And for anxiety, medication and other forms of therapy may be required. Tinnitus has also been shown to be successfully treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Here’s to Your Health
We recognize, then, that anxiety can have very real, very severe repercussions on your physical health and your mental health.
Isolation and cognitive decline have also been shown as a consequence of hearing loss. When you add anxiety to the recipe, you can have a pretty challenging situation. Thankfully, treatments exist for both conditions, and obtaining that treatment can make a huge, positive effect. The health impacts of anxiety don’t need to be permanent. The effect of anxiety on your body does not need to be long lasting. The sooner you get treatment, the better.