There are two kinds of anxiety. You can have common anxiety, that sensation you get when you’re coping with a crisis. Some individuals feel anxiety even when there are no distinct situations or concerns to connect it to. Regardless of what’s happening around them or what they’re thinking about, they often feel anxiety. It’s just there in the background all through 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 concern.
Both types of anxiety can be very detrimental to the physical body. Prolonged periods of persistent anxiety can be especially bad. Your alert status is raised by all of the chemicals that are produced during times of anxiety. It’s a good thing in the short term, but damaging over extended periods of time. Certain physical symptoms will begin to manifest if anxiety can’t be treated and remains for longer periods of time.
Bodily Symptoms of Anxiety
Some symptoms of anxiety are:
- A feeling that something dreadful is about to occur
- Loss of interest and depression
- Panic attacks, shortness of breath and increased heart rate
- Overall pain or discomfort in your body
- Feeling agitated or irritated
But chronic anxiety doesn’t necessarily manifest in the ways that you may 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 consequences of anxiety are not at all unexpected. Elevated blood pressure is one of those. Known medically as hypertension, high blood pressure can have many negative secondary effects on your body. It’s definitely not good. Dizziness, hearing loss and tinnitus can also be caused by high blood pressure.
- Tinnitus: You probably know that stress can make the ringing your ears worse, but did you know that there is 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 clogged or blocked (it’s amazing what anxiety can do).
- Dizziness: Dizziness, which can also be related to the ears, is often a symptom of persistent anxiety. Keep in mind, your sense of balance is governed by the ears (there are these three tubes inside of your inner ears that are regulating the sense of balance).
Anxiety And Hearing Loss
Generally on a hearing blog like this we would usually focus on, well, hearing. And your how well to hear. With that in mind, you’ll forgive us if we spend a little bit of time talking about how hearing loss and anxiety can feed each other in some slightly disturbing ways.
To start with, there’s the isolation. People tend to withdraw from social activities when they suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus or balance troubles. Perhaps you’ve seen this with someone you know. Perhaps a relative just withdrew from conversations because they were embarrassed by having to constantly repeat themselves. The same holds true for balance problems. It may affect your ability to drive or even walk, which can be humiliating to admit to family and friends.
There are also other ways depression and anxiety can lead to social isolation. When you don’t feel yourself, you don’t want to be with others. Sadly, one can wind up feeding the other and can turn into an unhealthy loop. That sense of isolation can develop quickly and it can result in a host of other, closely related problems, like decline of cognitive function. For somebody who suffers from anxiety and hearing loss, fighting against that shift toward isolation can be even more challenging.
Choosing The Appropriate Treatment
Tinnitus, hearing loss, anxiety and isolation can all feed on each other. That’s why finding the correct treatment is so key.
All of the symptoms for these ailments can be helped by obtaining treatment for your tinnitus and hearing loss. And in terms of depression and anxiety, connecting with others who can relate can be very helpful. At the very least, treating these symptoms can help with the sense of isolation that might make prolonged anxiety more severe. So that you can determine what treatments will be most effective for your situation, talk to your doctor and your hearing specialist. Hearing aids might be the best choice as part of your treatment depending on what your hearing test reveals. The most appropriate treatment for anxiety may include therapy or medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been shown to help manage tinnitus.
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.
Isolation and cognitive decline have also been shown as a consequence of hearing loss. Together with anxiety, that’s a recipe for, well, a challenging time. Thankfully, we have treatments for both conditions, and getting that treatment can make a big, positive difference. Anxiety doesn’t need to have long lasting effects on your body and the impact of anxiety on your body can be counteracted. The key is finding treatment as soon as possible.