Anxiety comes in two forms. You can have common anxiety, that sensation you get when you’re coping with a crisis. And then there’s the type of anxiety that isn’t necessarily attached to any one event or concern. No matter what’s happening around them or what’s on their mind, they often feel anxiety. It’s more of a generalized feeling that seems to pervade the day. This sort of anxiety is normally more of a mental health concern than a neurological response.
Both forms of anxiety can be very detrimental to the physical body. It can be especially damaging if you have sustained or chronic anxiety. Your alert status is raised by all of the chemicals that are secreted when anxiety is experienced. It’s a good thing in the short term, but damaging over extended periods of time. Over time, anxiety that cannot be dealt with or controlled will begin to manifest in certain physical symptoms.
Anxiety Has Distinct Bodily Symptoms
Symptoms of anxiety typically include:
- Feeling agitated or irritated
- Panic attacks, shortness of breath and increased heart rate
- Bodily discomfort
- Feeling like something horrible is about to happen
- Loss of interest and depression
- Physical weakness
But sometimes, anxiety manifests in unexpected ways. Indeed, there are some fairly interesting ways that anxiety might actually wind up impacting things as seemingly vague as your hearing. As an example, anxiety has been connected with:
- Tinnitus: You probably know that stress can cause the ringing in your ears to get worse, but did you realize that there is evidence that it can also cause the ringing in your ears to progress over time. This is called tinnitus (which can itself be caused by numerous other factors). For some, this may even manifest itself as a feeling that the ears are blocked or clogged.
- High Blood Pressure: And some of the effects of anxiety are not at all unexpected. Elevated blood pressure is one of those. Known scientifically as hypertension, high blood pressure can have really adverse effects on the body. It is, to use a colloquialism, bad news. Dizziness, hearing loss and tinnitus can also be caused by high blood pressure.
- Dizziness: Dizziness, which can also be caused by the ears, is often a symptom of persistent anxiety. Remember, your sense of balance is controlled by the ears (there are these three tubes in your inner ears that are regulating the sense of balance).
Hearing Loss And Anxiety
Generally on a hearing blog such as this we would tend to focus on, well, hearing. And your how well to hear. Keeping that in mind, you’ll excuse us if we spend a little bit of time talking about how anxiety and hearing loss can feed each other in some slightly disturbing ways.
The solitude is the first and foremost concern. People often pull away from social experiences when they have hearing loss, tinnitus or balance issues. You may have experienced this with your own relatives. Perhaps your mother or father got tired of asking you to repeat yourself, or didn’t want to be embarrassed by not understanding and so they withdrew from conversations. Issues with balance present similar troubles. It can be difficult to admit to your friends and family that you have a hard time driving or even walking because you have balance troubles.
Social isolation is also linked to depression and anxiety for other reasons. When you don’t feel like yourself, you don’t want to be with others. Sadly, one can end up feeding the other and can become an unhealthy loop. That feeling of solitude can set in quickly and it can lead to a number of other, closely related problems, including decline of cognitive function. It can be even more difficult to combat the effects of isolation if you have hearing loss and anxiety.
Discovering The Appropriate Treatment
Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, anxiety and isolation can all feed each other. That’s why finding the proper treatment is so important.
All of the symptoms for these disorders can be helped by getting treatment for your tinnitus and hearing loss. And in terms of depression and anxiety, connecting with others who can relate can be very helpful. Prolonged anxiety is more severe when there is a strong sense of isolation and dealing with the symptoms can help with that. Consult with your general practitioner and hearing specialist to examine your possibilities for treatment. Depending on what your hearing test shows, the right treatment for hearing loss or tinnitus could be hearing aids. And for anxiety, medication and other forms of therapy could be necessary. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been demonstrated to help deal with tinnitus.
Here’s to Your Health
We recognize that your mental and physical health can be seriously affected by anxiety.
We also realize that hearing loss can result in isolation and cognitive decline. Coupled with anxiety, that’s a recipe for, well, a difficult time. Luckily, we have treatments for both conditions, and getting that treatment can make a big, positive effect. The health affects of anxiety don’t have to be permanent. The effect of anxiety on your body doesn’t have to be long lasting. The key is getting treatment as soon as possible.