Anxiety comes in two varieties. When you are coping with a crisis, that feeling that you have is referred to as common anxiety. And then you can have the type of anxiety that isn’t necessarily attached to any one worry or event. They feel anxious regularly, regardless of what you happen to be doing or thinking about. It’s more of a general sensation that seems to be there all day. This second form is generally the kind of anxiety that’s less of a neuro-typical reaction and more of a mental health issue.
Both forms of anxiety can be very detrimental to the physical body. It can be especially harmful if you experience extended or chronic anxiety. When it feels anxiety, your body produces all sorts of chemicals that raise your alert status. It’s good in the short term, but damaging over a long period of time. Over time, anxiety that can’t be managed or controlled will begin to manifest in distinct physical symptoms.
Bodily Symptoms of Anxiety
Some symptoms of anxiety are:
- Panic attacks, shortness of breath and raised heart rate
- Feeling as if you are coming out of your skin
- Loss of interest and depression
- A feeling that something terrible is about to occur
- Bodily discomfort
But in some cases, anxiety is experienced in unexpected ways. Anxiety can even effect obscure body functions like your hearing. As an example, anxiety has been associated with:
- Dizziness: Dizziness, which can also be caused by the ears, is commonly a symptom of persistent anxiety. After all, the ears are generally responsible for your sense of balance (there are these three tubes inside of your inner ears that are regulating the sense of balance).
- Tinnitus: Are you aware that stress not only exacerbates tinnitus but that it can cause the development of that ringing. This is called tinnitus (which, itself can have numerous other causes as well). For some, this might even manifest itself as a feeling that the ears are blocked or clogged.
- High Blood Pressure: And a few of the effects of anxiety are not at all surprising. Elevated blood pressure is one of those. Known medically as hypertension, high blood pressure often has extremely negative effects on the body. It is, to make use of a colloquialism, bad news. High blood pressure has also been recognized to lead to hearing loss, dizziness and tinnitus.
Hearing Loss And Anxiety
Typically on a hearing blog such as this we would normally concentrate on, well, hearing. And your ability to hear. With that in mind, you’ll excuse us if we spend a little bit of time talking about how anxiety and hearing loss can influence each other in some fairly disconcerting ways.
First of all, there’s the isolation. People tend to pull away from social experiences when they suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus or balance issues. You might have seen this in your own family. Perhaps a relative just withdrew from conversations because they were embarrassed that they have to constantly repeat what they said. The same holds true for balance problems. It could influence your ability to walk or drive, which can be humiliating to admit to family and friends.
There are also other reasons why depression and anxiety can lead to social isolation. When you don’t feel yourself, you don’t want to be around others. Unfortunately, this can be something of a circle where one feeds the other. That sense of isolation can develop quickly and it can lead to a variety of other, closely associated problems, such as cognitive decline. It can be even more challenging to overcome the effects of isolation if you’re dealing with hearing loss and anxiety.
Getting The Proper Treatment
Finding the correct treatment is important especially given how much hearing loss, tinnitus, anxiety and isolation feed each other.
If tinnitus and hearing loss are symptoms you’re struggling with, finding proper treatment for them can also help with your other symptoms. Connecting with other people has been shown to help alleviate both anxiety and depression. Prolonged anxiety is more serious when there is a strong sense of isolation and treating the symptoms can help with that. So that you can figure out what treatments will be most effective for your situation, check with your doctor and your hearing specialist. Depending on what your hearing test shows, the right treatment for hearing loss or tinnitus could involve hearing aids. And for anxiety, medication and other forms of therapy could be necessary. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been shown to help deal with tinnitus.
Here’s to Your Health
We recognize that your mental and physical health can be seriously impacted by anxiety.
We also know that hearing loss can result in isolation and cognitive decline. When you add anxiety to the recipe, you can have a very difficult situation. Luckily, we have treatments for both conditions, and getting that treatment can make a huge, positive difference. The health affects of anxiety don’t have to be permanent. What anxiety does to your body does not have to last. The sooner you find treatment, the better.