There are two forms of anxiety. When you are dealing with an emergency situation, that feeling that you have is known as common anxiety. And then there’s the type of anxiety that isn’t really attached to any one event or concern. Regardless of what’s going on around them or what’s on their mind, they regularly feel anxiety. It’s just present in the background throughout the day. This second type is typically the kind of anxiety that’s not so much a neuro-typical reaction and more of a mental health concern.
Unfortunately, both forms of anxiety are pretty terrible for the human body. Extended periods of persistent anxiety can be particularly bad. When it’s anxious, your body releases a myriad of chemicals that heighten your alert status. For short periods, when you really need them, these chemicals are good but they can be damaging if they are produced over longer periods of time. Over time, anxiety that can’t be treated or brought under control will begin to manifest in certain physical symptoms.
Anxiety Has Distinct Physical Symptoms
Some symptoms of anxiety are:
- Melancholy and loss of interest in activities or daily life
- Feeling as if you are coming out of your skin
- Fear about impending crisis
- Bodily discomfort
- A racing heart or shortness of breath often associated with panic attacks
But persistent anxiety doesn’t necessarily appear in the ways that you may predict. Indeed, there are some pretty interesting ways that anxiety might actually wind up impacting things as seemingly vague as your hearing. As an example, anxiety has been connected with:
- Dizziness: Dizziness, which can also be related to the ears, is commonly a symptom of chronic anxiety. After all, the ears are generally in control of your sense of balance (there are these three tubes inside of your inner ears which are controlling the sense of balance).
- 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 negative effects on the body. It’s definitely not good. High blood pressure has also been known to lead to hearing loss, dizziness and tinnitus.
- Tinnitus: You probably know 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 called tinnitus (which can itself be caused by numerous other factors). For some, this may even reveal itself as a feeling of blockage or clogging of the ears.
Anxiety And Hearing Loss
Generally on a hearing blog like this we would tend to focus on, well, hearing. And how well you hear. With that in mind, you’ll forgive us if we take a little time to talk about how anxiety and hearing loss can influence each other in some fairly disconcerting ways.
To start with, there’s the solitude. When somebody has tinnitus, hearing loss or even balance issues, they often distance themselves from social interactions. You might have experienced this with your own family. Perhaps one of your parents got tired of asking you what you said, or didn’t want to be embarrassed by not comprehending and so they withdrew from conversations. The same is true for balance problems. It could affect your ability to drive or even walk, which can be humiliating to admit to family and friends.
Social isolation is also associated with anxiety and depression in other ways. When you do not feel yourself, you won’t want to be around other people. Sadly, one can wind up feeding the other and can become an unhealthy loop. That sense of isolation can set in quickly and it can lead to a variety of other, closely related problems, like decline of cognitive function. For somebody who deals with anxiety and hearing loss, fighting against that move toward isolation can be even more challenging.
Determining How to Properly Manage Your Hearing Loss Issues
Getting the proper treatment is important especially given how much anxiety, hearing loss, tinnitus and isolation feed on each other.
If tinnitus and hearing loss are symptoms you’re struggling with, obtaining proper treatment for them can also help with your other symptoms. And in terms of anxiety and depression, connecting with others who can relate can be extremely helpful. Prolonged anxiety is more serious when there is a strong sense of separation and managing the symptoms can help with that. So that you can decide what treatments are best for you, consult your doctor and your hearing specialist. Depending on what your hearing test shows, the right treatment for hearing loss or tinnitus may be hearing aids. And for anxiety, medication and other forms of therapy may be necessary. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been demonstrated to help deal with tinnitus.
Here’s to Your Health
We know, then, that anxiety can have very real, very severe consequences for your physical health in addition to your mental health.
Isolation and cognitive decline have also been shown as a repercussion of hearing loss. When you add anxiety to the recipe, you can have a very difficult situation. Fortunately, a positive difference can be accomplished by getting the right treatment for both conditions. The health impacts of anxiety don’t have to be permanent. What anxiety does to your body does not need to be long lasting. The sooner you find treatment, the better.