Anxiety comes in two kinds. You can have common anxiety, that feeling you get when you’re dealing with a crisis. Some individuals experience anxiety even when there are no particular situations or concerns to link it to. They feel the anxiety frequently, 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 kind is usually the type of anxiety that’s not so much a neuro-typical reaction and more of a mental health issue.
Both types of anxiety can be very damaging to the physical body. It can be particularly damaging if you have extended or chronic anxiety. Your alert status is heightened by all of the chemicals that are produced during times of anxiety. It’s a good thing in the short term, but damaging over a long period of time. Certain physical symptoms will begin to manifest if anxiety can’t be treated and remains for longer periods of time.
Anxiety Has Distinct Bodily Symptoms
Symptoms of anxiety frequently include:
- Physical weakness
- A feeling that something dreadful is about to happen
- General pain or discomfort in your body
- A feeling of being agitated or aggravated
- Panic attacks, difficulty breathing and increased heart rate
- Loss of interest and depression
But in some cases, anxiety manifests in unexpected ways. In fact, there are some fairly interesting ways that anxiety might actually wind up affecting things as seemingly vague as your hearing. For instance, anxiety has been associated with:
- Dizziness: Dizziness, which can also be related to the ears, is often a symptom of chronic anxiety. 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).
- 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 often has really negative effects on the body. It’s definitely not good. High blood pressure has also been known to lead to hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness.
- 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 known as tinnitus (which can itself be caused by several other factors). In some situations, the ears can feel blocked or clogged (it’s amazing what anxiety can do).
Hearing Loss And Anxiety
Generally on a hearing blog such as this we would usually focus on, well, hearing. And how well you hear. So let’s talk a bit about how your hearing is impacted by anxiety.
The isolation is the primary issue. People tend to withdraw from social activities when they have hearing loss, tinnitus or balance issues. Perhaps you’ve seen this with someone you know. Maybe a relative just withdrew from conversations because they were embarrassed that they have to constantly repeat what they said. The same goes for balance issues. It can be tough to admit to your friends and family that you have a difficult time driving or even walking because you have balance troubles.
There are also other ways anxiety and depression can lead to social isolation. Typically, you’re not going to be around anyone if you’re not feeling like yourself. Unfortunately, this can be somewhat of a circle where one feeds the other. That feeling of solitude can develop quickly and it can lead to a host of other, closely associated issues, such as decline of cognitive function. It can be even more challenging to combat the effects of isolation if you have hearing loss and anxiety.
Choosing The Right Treatment
Tinnitus, hearing loss, anxiety and isolation can all feed each other. That’s why finding the correct treatment is so important.
If tinnitus and hearing loss are symptoms you’re dealing with, getting correct treatment for them can also assist with your other symptoms. And as far as depression and anxiety, interacting with others who can relate can be extremely helpful. At the very least, dealing with these symptoms can help with the sense of solitude that could make chronic anxiety more extreme. Check with your general practitioner and hearing specialist to explore your possibilities for treatment. Depending on what your hearing test shows, the right treatment for hearing loss or tinnitus may involve hearing aids. And for anxiety, medication and other types of therapy might be necessary. Tinnitus has also been shown to be effectively treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Here’s to Your Health
We recognize, then, that anxiety can have very real, very severe consequences for your physical health and your mental health.
We also realize that hearing loss can bring about isolation and mental decline. When you add anxiety to the recipe, you can have a pretty 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 have to last. The sooner you find treatment, the better.