Hearing Health Blog

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Anxiety comes in two varieties. There’s common anxiety, that sensation you get when you’re coping with a crisis. And then there’s the type of anxiety that isn’t really attached to any one worry or event. Regardless of what’s happening in their lives or what they’re thinking about, they often feel anxiety. It’s just present in the background throughout the day. This sort of anxiety is usually more of a mental health concern than a neurological reaction.

Both kinds of anxiety can be very damaging to the physical body. Prolonged periods of chronic anxiety can be especially bad. When it’s anxious, your body releases a myriad of chemicals that heighten your alert status. For short durations, when you really need them, these chemicals are a positive thing but they can be harmful if they are produced over longer time periods. Over time, anxiety that can’t be dealt with or brought under control will begin to manifest in certain physical symptoms.

Anxiety Has Distinct Physical Symptoms

Some symptoms of anxiety are:

  • A feeling that something terrible is about to occur
  • Panic attacks, difficulty breathing and increased heart rate
  • Feeling like you are coming out of your skin
  • Queasiness
  • Depression and loss of interest in activities or daily life
  • General pain or discomfort in your body
  • Physical weakness

But sometimes, anxiety is experienced in unexpected ways. In fact, there are some fairly interesting ways that anxiety might actually end up affecting things as seemingly vague as your hearing. For example, anxiety has been connected with:

  • Tinnitus: You probably understand that stress can make the ringing your ears worse, but did you realize that there is evidence that it can also cause the ringing in your ears to progress over time. This is called tinnitus (which can itself be caused by many other factors). In some situations, the ears can feel blocked or clogged (it’s staggering what anxiety can do).
  • Dizziness: Prolonged anxiety can occasionally cause dizziness, which is a condition that may also be related to the ears. After all, the ears are generally in control of your sense of balance (there are these three tubes in your inner ears that are regulating the sense of balance).
  • High Blood Pressure: And then there are some ways that anxiety affects your body in exactly the way you’d expect it to. Elevated blood pressure is one of those. Known medically as hypertension, high blood pressure can have extremely adverse effects on the body. It’s certainly not good. High blood pressure has also been known to cause hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness.

Anxiety And Hearing Loss

Generally on a hearing blog like this we would usually concentrate on, well, hearing. And your how well 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 relatively disconcerting ways.

First of all, there’s the solitude. When a person suffers from tinnitus, hearing loss or even balance problems, they often withdraw from social interactions. Perhaps you’ve experienced this with somebody you know. Perhaps your mother or father got tired of asking you what you said, or didn’t want to be embarrassed by not understanding and so they withdrew from conversations. The same is true for balance issues. It can be tough to admit to your family and friends that you have a hard time driving or even walking because you’re experiencing balance problems.

Social isolation is also connected to anxiety and depression for other reasons. Normally, you’re not going to be around people if you aren’t feeling like yourself. Unfortunately, this can be somewhat of a circle where one feeds the other. The negative effects of isolation can occur quickly and will lead to various other issues and can even result in mental decline. It can be even harder to combat the effects of isolation if you have hearing loss and anxiety.

Determining How to Correctly Manage Your Hearing Loss Issues

Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, anxiety and isolation can all feed each other. That’s why finding the best treatment is so crucial.

All of the symptoms for these disorders can be helped by getting treatment for your tinnitus and hearing loss. And in terms of depression and anxiety, interacting with others who can relate can be very helpful. Prolonged anxiety is more severe when there is an overwhelming sense of solitude and treating the symptoms can be helpful with that. Consult your general practitioner and hearing specialist to explore your options for treatment. Depending on the results of your hearing test, the right treatment for hearing loss or tinnitus might involve hearing aids. And for anxiety, medication and other kinds of therapy might be necessary. Tinnitus has also been shown to be effectively treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Here’s to Your Health

We understand, then, that anxiety can have very real, very serious repercussions for your physical health in addition to your mental health.

We also know that hearing loss can bring about isolation and cognitive decline. When you add anxiety to the recipe, it makes for a pretty challenging situation. Fortunately, a positive difference can be accomplished by getting the correct treatment for both conditions. The health impacts of anxiety don’t have to be permanent. The effect of anxiety on your body does not need to last. The key is finding treatment as soon as possible.

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