Anxiety and Tinnitus – Is There A Connection?

Here’s an interesting thought, could anxiety cause tinnitus? Anxiety induced tinnitus – is that even possible? I suppose anything is possible but we really should consider the facts.

First, let’s make sure we’re clear what exactly anxiety is.

According to Webmd.com there are several different varieties of anxiety.

anxiety induced tinnitus

Panic Disorder

This is a type of panic where people have feelings of terror that develop suddenly and without warning. The symptoms include sweating, heart palpitations, chest pain, strong or irregular heartbeats and some even get a sensation of choking.

Social Anxiety Disorder

This is an anxiety based on overwhelming worrying and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. This is an unrealistic fear about being ridiculed and judged by others.

Other Specific Phobias

Fears and phobias such as fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of spiders, etc.

What are the symptoms of an anxiety attack? According to WebMd, the actual symptoms of anxiety include;

  • Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Cold or sweaty hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Not being able to be still and calm
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness

So, what does anxiety have to do with tinnitus?

Even though tinnitus rarely has any identifiable causes, there is some thought that anxiety may play a role in some cases of tinnitus. While making sure that medical reasons for tinnitus are ruled out at the onset, there are some interesting conclusions drawn by www.CalmClinic.com concerning tinnitus and anxiety.

Fight or Flight Causes Tinnitus

They think that when anxiety activates the fight or flight system in your body,

This places a great deal of pressure on the nerves, blood flow, body heat, and more. It’s very likely that this pressure and stress travels up into your inner ear, and leads to the experience of tinnitus.

Of course this is temporary, after the body returns to a relaxed state the anxiety-induced tinnitus should disappear – right? Unfortunately for most tinnitus sufferers our tinnitus remains no matter what.

Another theory in the anxiety/tinnitus relationship link is that of hypersensitivity. Simply put, hypersensitivity is a condition that the body becomes sensitized to any outside stimulus and reacts in a very dramatic and uncomfortable way. Minor pain is felt as extreme, hot and cold are both dramatic and maybe a slight bit of tinnitus is amplified as to be a major distraction?

We who have had tinnitus for years may have filtered out the noise from our daily activities. This is true for me as I can go hours without even realizing that I even have tinnitus.  So the theory of hypersensitivity amplifying tinnitus symptoms does seem somewhat plausible, as compared to the fight or flight temporarily resulting in tinnitus.

Tinnitus Induced Anxiety

The article goes on to discuss tinnitus induced anxiety. For new tinnitus sufferers I can imagine the first few days (and nights) hearing noises in their ears that were never there before, and helpless to do anything about them. Anxiety from this situation could result until the sufferer “adjusts” to the new condition.

The author briefly discusses how to treat tinnitus that results from anxiety without offering much besides advising to make sure there is no underlying medical condition that could be causing your tinnitus.

They do offer something unique and potentially helpful to someone who may think they have anxiety issues – an online anxiety test. You can click HERE to access this test. I must say I have no relationship with this author or website nor can I vouch for the test’s accuracy in diagnosing or treating an anxiety problem, but the thought of learning more about one’s self is intriguing!

Conclusions

I can’t say for sure that anxiety may be causing your tinnitus (or the other way around), but  I believe the idea is plausible. If you do find your tinnitus seems worse when you are tense, anxious or even stressed, this could very well be possible.

I would love to hear from anyone who has anxiety-induced tinnitus, and what you do to either prevent it or make the tinnitus less a problem for you.

 

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