Anxiety comes in two forms. There’s common anxiety, that sensation you get when you’re involved with a crisis. Some individuals feel anxiety even when there are no distinct events or worries to attach it to. They feel the anxiety regularly, regardless of what you’re doing or thinking about. It’s more of a general sensation that seems to pervade the day. This second type is usually the type of anxiety that’s not so much a neuro-typical reaction and more of a mental health problem.
Unfortunately, both types of anxiety are harmful for the human body. Extended periods of chronic anxiety can be especially bad. When it’s anxious, your body secretes all kinds of chemicals that raise your alert status. For short periods, when you genuinely need them, these chemicals are good but they can be damaging if they are present over longer periods of time. Over time, anxiety that cannot be managed or brought under control will begin to manifest in distinct physical symptoms.
Anxiety Has Distinct Physical Symptoms
Symptoms of anxiety typically include:
- A feeling that something horrible is about to occur
- A thumping heart or difficulty breathing often linked to panic attacks
- A feeling of being agitated or aggravated
- Bodily pain
- Melancholy and loss of interest in activities or daily life
But persistent anxiety doesn’t necessarily appear in the ways that you would predict. In fact, there are some fairly interesting ways that anxiety could actually wind up impacting things as apparently obscure as your hearing. For instance, anxiety has been associated with:
- Dizziness: Persistent anxiety can occasionally make you feel dizzy, which is an issue that may also be related to the ears. After all, the ears are typically in control of your sense of balance (there are these three tubes in 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 medically as hypertension, high blood pressure can have really negative effects on the body. It’s certainly not good. Dizziness, hearing loss and tinnitus can also be caused by high blood pressure.
- Tinnitus: You probably understand that stress can cause the ringing in your ears to get worse, but did you know that there’s evidence that it can also cause the ringing in your ears to progress over time. This is called tinnitus (which, itself can have a variety of other causes as well). In certain circumstances, the ears can feel blocked or clogged (it’s amazing what anxiety can do).
Hearing Loss And Anxiety
Typically on a hearing blog like this we would usually concentrate 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 feed each other in some slightly disconcerting ways.
First and foremost, there’s the isolation. People tend to withdraw from social activities when they suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus or balance issues. Maybe you’ve seen this with someone you know. Maybe a relative just withdrew from conversations because they were embarrassed by having to constantly repeat themselves. The same goes for balance problems. It can be hard to admit to your friends and family that you have a hard time driving or even walking because you have balance problems.
Social isolation is also linked to depression and anxiety for other reasons. When you don’t feel like yourself, you won’t want to be with others. Unfortunately, this can be somewhat of a circle where one feeds into the other. The negative impact of isolation can occur quickly and will lead to various other problems and can even result in mental decline. For someone who deals with anxiety and hearing loss, fighting against that move toward isolation can be even more challenging.
Determining How to Correctly Treat Your Hearing Loss Issues
Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, anxiety and isolation can all feed each other. That’s why finding the correct treatment is so crucial.
If tinnitus and hearing loss are symptoms you’re dealing with, finding correct treatment for them can also assist with your other symptoms. And in terms of anxiety and depression, connecting with others who can relate can be extremely helpful. Chronic anxiety is more serious when there is an overwhelming sense of separation and dealing with the symptoms can help with that. In order to decide what treatments will be most effective for your situation, check with your doctor and your hearing specialist. Hearing aids may be the best choice as part of your treatment depending on what your hearing test reveals. And for anxiety, medication and other forms of therapy might be necessary. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been shown to help control tinnitus.
Here’s to Your Health
We know, then, that anxiety can have very real, very serious consequences on your physical health in addition to your mental health.
We also know that hearing loss can result in isolation and cognitive decline. When you add anxiety to the recipe, it makes for a very difficult situation. Fortunately, a positive difference can be accomplished by getting the correct treatment for both conditions. Anxiety doesn’t need to have permanent effects on your body and the impact of anxiety on your body can be reversed. The key is finding treatment as soon as you can.