There are two kinds of anxiety. There’s common anxiety, that sensation you get when you’re coping with a crisis. Some individuals feel anxiety even when there aren’t any particular situations or concerns to link it to. They feel the anxiety frequently, regardless of what you happen to be doing or thinking about. It’s more of a general sensation that seems to pervade the day. This sort of anxiety is usually more of a mental health problem than a neurological response.
Both kinds of anxiety can be very unfavorable to the physical body. Extended periods of persistent anxiety can be particularly bad. When it feels anxiety, your body produces a myriad of chemicals that raise your alert status. It’s a good thing in the short term, but damaging over a long period of time. Over the long run, anxiety that can’t be dealt with or brought under control will start to manifest in certain physical symptoms.
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
Symptoms of anxiety often include:
- Panic attacks, difficulty breathing and increased heart rate
- Bodily pain
- Feeling like something dreadful is about to happen
- Loss of interest and depression
- A feeling of being agitated or aggravated
But sometimes, anxiety is experienced in unexpected ways. In fact, there are some rather interesting ways that anxiety could actually end up affecting things as seemingly vague as your hearing. For instance, anxiety has been connected with:
- Dizziness: Prolonged anxiety can sometimes cause dizziness, which is an issue that may also be related to the ears. Keep in mind, your sense of balance is controlled by the ears (there are these three tubes in your inner ears which are controlling the sense of balance).
- Tinnitus: You probably know that stress can make the ringing your ears worse, but did you realize that there’s evidence that it can also cause the ringing in your ears to develop over time. This is called tinnitus (which, itself can have a variety of other causes too). In certain circumstances, the ears can feel clogged or blocked (it’s amazing what anxiety can do).
- High Blood Pressure: And then there are a few ways that anxiety impacts your body in precisely the way you’d expect it to. Elevated blood pressure is one of those. Known medically as hypertension, high blood pressure can have really adverse effects on the body. It’s certainly not good. High blood pressure has also been known to lead to hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness.
Hearing Loss And Anxiety
Typically on a hearing blog such as this we would normally concentrate on, well, hearing. And how well you hear. Keeping that in mind, you’ll forgive us if we spend a little bit of time talking about how hearing loss and anxiety can feed one another in some relatively disturbing ways.
First and foremost, there’s the isolation. When someone has hearing loss, tinnitus or even balance issues, they tend to withdraw from social contact. Perhaps you’ve seen this with somebody you know. Perhaps a relative just stopped talking as much because they were embarrassed that they have to constantly repeat themselves. The same goes for balance issues. It can be hard to admit to your friends and family that you have a difficult time driving or even walking because you have balance troubles.
There are also other reasons why 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 somewhat of a circle where one feeds into the other. The negative impact of isolation can happen rapidly and will trigger several other issues and can even result in cognitive decline. For someone who suffers from anxiety and hearing loss, battling against that shift toward isolation can be even more difficult.
Determining How to Effectively Treat Your Hearing Loss Troubles
Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, anxiety and isolation can all feed each other. That’s why getting the proper treatment is so key.
If hearing loss and tinnitus are symptoms you’re struggling with, finding proper treatment for them can also help with your other symptoms. Connecting with others has been shown to help reduce both anxiety and depression. Certainly, treating these symptoms can help with the sense of isolation that could make prolonged anxiety more extreme. Talk to your general practitioner and hearing specialist to look at your possibilities for treatment. Depending on the results of your hearing test, the right treatment for hearing loss or tinnitus might be hearing aids. The best treatment for anxiety might involve therapy or medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been demonstrated to help manage tinnitus.
Here’s to Your Health
We recognize, then, that anxiety can have very real, very severe repercussions for your physical health in addition to your mental health.
We also realize that hearing loss can lead to isolation and cognitive decline. When you add anxiety to the recipe, it makes for a very difficult situation. Thankfully, treatments exist for both conditions, and getting that treatment can make a big, positive effect. The health impacts of anxiety don’t have to be permanent. The effect of anxiety on your body does not have to last. The key is getting treatment as soon as you can.