There are two kinds of anxiety. When you are dealing with an emergency situation, that feeling that you get is known as common anxiety. Some people experience anxiety even when there are no specific events or worries to link it to. They feel the anxiety regularly, regardless of what you’re doing or thinking about. It’s just there in the background all through the day. This type of anxiety is usually more of a mental health concern than a neurological response.
Unfortunately, both forms of anxiety are pretty terrible for the human body. It can be especially damaging if you experience extended or chronic anxiety. When it’s anxious, your body secretes all sorts of chemicals that heighten your alert status. For short periods, when you genuinely require them, these chemicals are good but they can be damaging if they are produced over longer time periods. Over time, anxiety that cannot be managed or controlled will start to manifest in distinct physical symptoms.
Anxiety Has Distinct Bodily Symptoms
Some symptoms of anxiety are:
- A feeling that something terrible is about to occur
- Feeling like you’re coming out of your skin
- Physical weakness
- Melancholy and loss of interest in activities or daily life
- Bodily pain
- A pounding heart or shortness of breath typically linked to panic attacks
But chronic anxiety doesn’t always manifest in the ways that you would anticipate. Indeed, there are some fairly interesting ways that anxiety could actually end up impacting things as apparently obscure as your hearing. For instance, anxiety has been associated with:
- High Blood Pressure: And then there are a few ways that anxiety affects your body in precisely the way you’d expect it to. Elevated blood pressure is one of those. Known scientifically as hypertension, high blood pressure often has very negative effects on the body. It is, to use a colloquialism, not so great. High blood pressure has also been recognized to lead to hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness.
- Dizziness: Persistent anxiety can occasionally make you feel dizzy, which is an issue that could also stem from the ears. After all, the ears are typically responsible for your sense of balance (there are these three tubes in your inner ears that are controlling the sense of balance).
- Tinnitus: You probably know that stress can make the ringing your ears worse, but did you know that there’s evidence that it can also cause the ringing in your ears to develop over time. This is known as tinnitus (which can itself be caused by several other factors). For some, this may even manifest itself as a feeling that the ears are blocked or clogged.
Hearing Loss And Anxiety
Typically on a hearing blog like this we would tend to focus on, well, hearing. And your how well to hear. So let’s talk a bit about how your hearing is impacted by anxiety.
First and foremost, there’s the isolation. People tend to withdraw from social experiences when they have hearing loss, tinnitus or balance issues. Maybe you’ve seen this with someone you know. Maybe a relative just stopped talking as much because they were embarrassed that they have to constantly repeat themselves. Problems with balance present similar difficulties. It can be difficult to admit to your family and friends that you have a hard time driving or even walking because you’re experiencing balance problems.
Social isolation is also associated with depression and anxiety for other reasons. When you don’t feel yourself, you don’t want to be around other people. Sadly, one can end up feeding the other and can turn into an unhealthy loop. That feeling of solitude can develop quickly and it can lead to a host of other, closely associated issues, like cognitive decline. For someone who struggles with anxiety and hearing loss, battling against that move toward isolation can be even more challenging.
Choosing The Right Treatment
Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, anxiety and isolation can all feed on each other. That’s why getting the correct treatment is so key.
If tinnitus and hearing loss are symptoms you’re struggling with, getting correct treatment for them can also help with your other symptoms. And as far as depression and anxiety, interacting with others who can relate can be extremely helpful. Prolonged anxiety is more severe when there is a strong sense of solitude and treating the symptoms can help with that. Check 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 might involve hearing aids. And for anxiety, medication and other forms of therapy might be necessary. Tinnitus has also been found to be effectively treated by cognitive-behavioral therapy.
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.
Isolation and cognitive decline have also been recognized as a consequence of hearing loss. 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. Anxiety doesn’t need to have long lasting effects on your body and the impact of anxiety on your body can be reversed. The sooner you find treatment, the better.