Anxiety comes in two kinds. There’s common anxiety, that feeling you get when you’re involved with an emergency situation. And then you can have the kind of anxiety that isn’t really linked to any one event or concern. They feel anxious regularly, regardless of what you’re doing or thinking about. It’s more of a general feeling that seems to pervade the day. This sort of anxiety is normally more of a mental health concern than a neurological reaction.
Both forms of anxiety can be very detrimental to the physical body. It can be especially damaging if you experience extended or chronic anxiety. When it feels anxiety, your body secretes a myriad of chemicals that heighten your alert status. For short periods, when you genuinely need them, these chemicals are a positive thing but they can be harmful if they are produced over longer time periods. Over the long run, anxiety that can’t be dealt with or controlled will start to manifest in distinct physical symptoms.
Bodily Symptoms of Anxiety
Some symptoms of anxiety are:
- Feeling like you are coming out of your skin
- General aches or discomfort in your body
- Feeling like something terrible is about to occur
- Depression and loss of interest in day to day activities
- Physical weakness
- A racing heart or difficulty breathing often associated with panic attacks
But chronic anxiety doesn’t necessarily appear in the ways that you might anticipate. Anxiety can even effect vague body functions including your hearing. For example, anxiety has been linked to:
- High Blood Pressure: And some of the effects of anxiety are not at all unexpected. In this case, we’re talking about elevated blood pressure. Known scientifically as hypertension, high blood pressure can have all kinds of negative secondary effects on you physically. It’s definitely not good. High blood pressure has also been known to lead to hearing loss, dizziness and tinnitus.
- Dizziness: Dizziness, which can also be related to the ears, is often a symptom of chronic anxiety. Do not forget, 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 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, itself can have any number of other causes too). For some, this could even reveal itself as a feeling that the ears are blocked or clogged.
Hearing Loss And Anxiety
Generally on a hearing blog like this we would tend to concentrate on, well, hearing. And how well you hear. Keeping that in mind, you’ll excuse us if we take a little time to talk about how hearing loss and anxiety can feed each other in some slightly disconcerting ways.
First off, there’s the isolation. When someone suffers from tinnitus, hearing loss or even balance issues, they tend to distance themselves from social contact. Maybe you’ve seen this with someone you know. Maybe one of your parents 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. The same holds true for balance issues. It may influence your ability to drive or even walk, which can be embarrassing to admit to friends and family.
Social isolation is also associated with anxiety and depression in other ways. Usually, you aren’t going to be around anyone if you aren’t feeling like yourself. Unfortunately, this can be something of a loop where one feeds into the other. That sense of solitude can develop quickly and it can lead to a variety of other, closely associated problems, including cognitive decline. It can be even harder to overcome the effects of isolation if you’re dealing with hearing loss and anxiety.
Finding The Right Treatment
Finding the correct treatment is significant particularly given how much anxiety, hearing loss, tinnitus and isolation feed each other.
All of the symptoms for these conditions can be helped by getting treatment for your tinnitus and hearing loss. Connecting with others has been shown to help alleviate both anxiety and depression. At the very least, dealing with these symptoms can help with the sense of solitude that could make persistent anxiety more severe. So that you can figure out what treatments are best for you, talk to your doctor and your hearing specialist. Hearing aids could be the best option as part of your treatment depending on the results of your hearing exam. The right treatment for anxiety might include medication or therapy. Tinnitus has also been found to be successfully treated by cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Here’s to Your Health
We recognize, then, that anxiety can have very real, very serious repercussions for your physical health and your mental health.
We also know that hearing loss can result in isolation and mental decline. In conjunction with anxiety, that’s a recipe for, well, a challenging time. Luckily, treatments exist for both conditions, and getting that treatment can make a big, positive difference. Anxiety doesn’t have to have long lasting effects on your body and the impact of anxiety on your body can be counteracted. The sooner you get treatment, the better.