Tinnitus and Anxiety: Are They Connected?

Both tinnitus and anxiety are difficult afflictions to live with. Anxiety can leave you under a stress, it makes you depressed, and it makes dealing with everyday situations hard. At the same time, tinnitus, that terrible ringing sound in the ears, is no easier to live with. Now, imagine that your tinnitus is actually caused by your anxiety, whether directly or indirectly.

This might seem like a bad thing, but in fact, it is not the worst-case scenario because there are different ways of treating anxiety. If anxiety causes your tinnitus, you stand a good chance at treating it. If you can find a way to manage your stress and anxiety, you should be able to treat the tinnitus too. Let’s talk about tinnitus and anxiety and if they are indeed connected or not. As a little hint for you, you can probably assume that they are totally connected to each other.

Tinnitus

Just as a little recap, as you probably know, tinnitus is not fun to live with. In fact, it can be downright life changing and totally debilitating. It is the ringing, buzzing, or whooshing sound that you hear in your ears, even when there is nothing on the outside causing this sound. People with tinnitus report hearing all kinds of noises like buzzing, static, white noise, beeping, ringing, whooshing, and lots of other sounds too.

The problem with tinnitus is that different things can cause it, and finding the exact cause, often proves extremely difficult. Very loud noises, long exposure to loud sounds, compacted ear wax, medications, physical damage, and other medical conditions are all known to cause tinnitus symptoms to appear and worsen.

However, another thing which can cause tinnitus is anxiety. Determining whether anxiety is the cause of your tinnitus can be hard to do; it can be a direct cause in that the tinnitus is a mental affliction, or it can be an indirect cause in the sense that it is indeed a physical affliction. Let’s move on and talk about anxiety and its relation to tinnitus. The main thing to keep in mind right now is that the two can definitely be related.

Anxiety

Just like tinnitus, anxiety is not fun to deal with (In fact, if there was an exact opposite to fun, we would say that tinnitus is it). People who suffer from anxiety know that it is indeed a mental condition, one that can in fact cause tinnitus symptoms to appear.

At the same time, anxiety is shown to increase stress levels, make the heart beat faster, and cause higher blood pressure. Even though anxiety is technically a mentally related disorder, it can have physical ramifications. One of these physical ramifications has to do with tinnitus.

Anxiety as a Direct Cause of Tinnitus

We are going to make a distinction here, one between anxiety being an indirect cause of tinnitus, and it being a direct cause of tinnitus. This is because as far as medical professionals are concerned, it can be one or the other, both, or neither. It really depends on the specific person at hand. The point is that anxiety can be a direct cause of tinnitus in the sense that it is a mental affliction.

As we previously stated, there are many different things which can cause tinnitus or at least make the existing symptoms worse. However, finding the cause can be difficult. Yet, there has been a link shown between anxiety and tinnitus. In terms of it being a direct cause of the tinnitus, doctors say that it can be a purely mental affliction. In other words, there is no physical condition or real empirical cause of the tinnitus other than the anxiety.

Anxiety comes in many forms. Some people might hear the ringing sound of tinnitus simply because they are so anxious and stressed out; it is the specific way which your brain deals with the anxiety. Some people become physically nauseous from anxiety, some get tired and irritable, and some can hear ringing in their ears. Therefore, we say that anxiety can be a direct cause of tinnitus.

Anxiety as an Indirect Cause of Tinnitus

On the other hand, tinnitus can also be indirectly caused by stress and anxiety. Here we are talking about the link between the physical causes of tinnitus. If you did not already know, anxiety can cause high blood pressure, a lack of circulation, and an increased heart rate. Some people simply call this stress, but they are all in fact physical effects of anxiety.

It is known that tinnitus can be caused by physical things such as high blood pressure and a lack of circulation. We don’t want to get into the exact science of it here, but the bottom line is that these cardiovascular issues can cause irregularities in blood flow and ultimately in the function of your auditory nerves.

Realizing whether mental anxiety causes the tinnitus directly or by the physical ramifications of anxiety is a different story. Therefore, treating your anxiety might just be the best way to help get rid of your tinnitus symptoms.

Tinnitus and Anxiety – Treating Your Anxiety

As we said, treating your anxiety is probably your best bet, however, this can be hard because everybody is different. You can try going to group meetings or speaking to a person who specializes in mental conditions. You can try listening to calming music or listening to a noise machine.

You can go on a long walk, drink hot tea, meditate, or take a relaxing bubble bath too. The point here is that if you can manage to treat your anxiety, you might also be able to get rid of the tinnitus.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, tinnitus and anxiety can be connected, or they might not be; you could be suffering from both without any relation between the two. However, in many cases, people who suffer from both anxiety and tinnitus often see a relation between them.

Author Bio

Carl is the founder of Stop The Ringing, a support group for Tinnitus sufferers across the globe. Like millions of others, Carl suffers from Tinnitus. He takes pride in helping others find peace and happiness as they cope for their Tinnitus.