Anxiety comes in two varieties. There’s common anxiety, that feeling you get when you’re dealing with an emergency situation. And then there’s the type of anxiety that isn’t really attached to any one event or concern. Regardless of what’s happening around them or what’s on their mind, they frequently feel anxiety. It’s just present in the background all through the day. This second kind is generally the kind of anxiety that’s less of a neuro-typical reaction and more of a mental health concern.
Both forms of anxiety can be very detrimental to the physical body. It can be particularly harmful if you have sustained or chronic anxiety. Your alert status is raised by all of the chemicals that are produced during times of anxiety. It’s good in the short term, but harmful over a long period of time. Certain physical symptoms will begin to appear if anxiety can’t be managed and persists for longer periods of time.
Anxiety Has Distinct Bodily Symptoms
Symptoms of anxiety often include:
- A pounding heart or shortness of breath commonly associated with panic attacks
- General aches or soreness in your body
- Paranoia about approaching crisis
- Feeling as if you’re coming out of your skin
- Melancholy and loss of interest in day to day activities
But chronic anxiety doesn’t always appear in the ways that you might anticipate. Anxiety can even effect vague body functions like your hearing. For example, anxiety has been associated with:
- High Blood Pressure: And then there are certain ways that anxiety impacts your body in exactly the way you’d expect it to. In this case, we’re talking about elevated blood pressure. Known scientifically as hypertension, high blood pressure often has very adverse effects on the body. It is, to use a colloquialism, not so great. Dizziness, hearing loss and tinnitus can also be brought about by high blood pressure.
- Tinnitus: You probably understand 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 develop over time. This is called tinnitus (which, itself can have many other causes too). In some situations, the ears can feel clogged or blocked (it’s staggering what anxiety can do).
- Dizziness: Prolonged anxiety can occasionally cause dizziness, which is a condition that could also stem from the ears. Do not forget, the sense of balance is controlled by the ears (there are these three tubes in your inner ears that are controlling the sense of balance).
Anxiety And Hearing Loss
Because this is a hearing website, we usually tend to focus on, well, the ears. And your how well to hear. Keeping that in mind, you’ll forgive us if we take a little time to talk about how anxiety and hearing loss can feed each other in some slightly disturbing ways.
First and foremost, there’s the solitude. When someone has tinnitus, hearing loss or even balance problems, they often pull away from social interactions. You may have seen this in your own family. Perhaps a relative just withdrew from conversations because they were embarrassed by having to constantly repeat what they said. The same holds true for balance issues. It can be tough to admit to your family and friends that you have a difficult time driving or even walking because you’re experiencing balance troubles.
There are also other ways depression and anxiety can result in social isolation. When you do not feel yourself, you don’t want to be with other people. Unfortunately, this can be something of a loop where one feeds into the other. The negative impact of isolation can occur rapidly and will trigger numerous other issues and can even result in mental decline. For someone who struggles with anxiety and hearing loss, battling against that move toward isolation can be even more difficult.
Finding The Right Treatment
Finding the correct treatment is significant particularly given how much hearing loss, tinnitus, anxiety and isolation feed each other.
If tinnitus and hearing loss are symptoms you’re dealing with, obtaining correct treatment for them can also help with your other symptoms. And in terms of anxiety and depression, connecting with others who can relate can be extremely helpful. At the very least, managing these symptoms can help with the sense of solitude that might make prolonged anxiety more extreme. Seek advice from your general practitioner and hearing specialist to look at your choices for treatment. Depending on what your hearing test shows, the best treatment for hearing loss or tinnitus could be hearing aids. The best treatment for anxiety may include therapy or medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been demonstrated to help control tinnitus.
Here’s to Your Health
We recognize, then, that anxiety can have very real, very severe repercussions for your physical health in addition to your mental health.
Isolation and cognitive decline have also been recognized as a consequence of hearing loss. When you add anxiety to the recipe, you can have a very difficult situation. Thankfully, treatments exist for both conditions, and obtaining that treatment can make a huge, positive difference. The health impacts of anxiety don’t have to be permanent. The effect of anxiety on your body does not need to last. The sooner you get treatment, the better.