Anxiety comes in two varieties. When you are dealing with a crisis, that feeling that you get is referred to as common anxiety. Some people experience anxiety even when there are no particular situations or concerns to attach it to. Regardless of what’s happening in their lives or what’s on their mind, they often feel anxiety. It’s just present in the background throughout the day. This type of anxiety is normally more of a mental health problem than a neurological response.
Both forms of anxiety can be very unfavorable to the physical body. It can be especially damaging if you have extended or chronic anxiety. Your alert status is heightened by all of the chemicals that are produced when anxiety is experienced. It’s good in the short term, but harmful over a long period of time. Over the long run, anxiety that cannot be treated or controlled will start to manifest in distinct physical symptoms.
Anxiety Has Distinct Physical Symptoms
Some symptoms of anxiety are:
- Feeling agitated or irritated
- Loss of interest and depression
- Paranoia about impending disaster
- General aches or discomfort in your body
- Panic attacks, difficulty breathing and raised heart rate
But in some cases, anxiety is experienced in surprising ways. Anxiety can even impact vague body functions like your hearing. For example, anxiety has been linked to:
- High Blood Pressure: And some of the consequences of anxiety are not at all unexpected. Elevated blood pressure is one of those. Known scientifically as hypertension, high blood pressure can have many negative secondary effects on you physically. It is, to make use of a colloquialism, not so great. High blood pressure has also been known to lead to hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness.
- Dizziness: Prolonged anxiety can sometimes cause dizziness, which is a condition that could also be related to the ears. Keep in mind, the sense of balance is governed by the ears (there are these three tubes in your inner ears that are controlling the sense of balance).
- Tinnitus: You probably understand that stress can cause the ringing in your ears to get worse, but did you realize that there’s evidence that it can also cause the ringing in your ears to progress over time. This is known as tinnitus (which, itself can have any number of other causes too). For a few, this could even manifest itself as a feeling of blockage or clogging of the ears.
Hearing Loss And Anxiety
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 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 primary concern. When someone suffers from hearing loss, tinnitus or even balance issues, they tend to withdraw from social contact. Maybe you’ve seen this with somebody you know. Maybe your mother or father got tired of asking you what you said, or didn’t want to be embarrassed by not understanding and so they stopped talking so much. Problems with balance come with similar troubles. It can be hard to admit to your family and friends that you have a difficult time driving or even walking because you have balance troubles.
Social isolation is also connected to depression and anxiety in other ways. When you do not feel like yourself, you won’t want to be with others. Sadly, one can end up feeding the other and can turn into an unhealthy loop. That feeling of isolation can develop quickly and it can lead to a variety of other, closely related issues, like decline of cognitive function. For somebody who suffers from anxiety and hearing loss, fighting against that move toward isolation can be even more challenging.
Choosing The Correct Treatment
Finding the correct treatment is important especially given how much hearing loss, tinnitus, anxiety and isolation feed on each other.
If tinnitus and hearing loss are symptoms you’re struggling with, obtaining correct treatment for them can also assist with your other symptoms. Interacting with other people has been shown to help reduce both depression and anxiety. Prolonged anxiety is more severe when there is a strong sense of separation and managing the symptoms can be helpful with that. In order to determine what treatments will be most effective for your situation, talk to your doctor and your hearing specialist. Hearing aids might be the best solution as part of your treatment depending on what your hearing test reveals. The most appropriate treatment for anxiety may involve therapy or medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been proven to help deal with tinnitus.
Here’s to Your Health
We understand, 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. Coupled with anxiety, that’s a recipe for, well, a difficult time. Thankfully, treatments exist for both conditions, and getting that treatment can make a huge, positive difference. The health impacts of anxiety don’t have to be permanent. What anxiety does to your body doesn’t have to be long lasting. The sooner you get treatment, the better.