Can Anxiety Cause Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by ananasdrink, Aug 21, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. ananasdrink

      ananasdrink Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      january 2014
      i got terrible anxiety and panic about a year ago. the panic attacks are gone now but the anxiety is still there...
      about three months after the anxiety came , i woke up in the middle of the night with the loudest ringing in my head, wich caused a three day panick attack , and since then the ringing hasnt gone away .

      does anybody know if there is a link between anxiety and tinnitus ?

      i know that when you have a panic attack its normal that there is a loud ringing... but it usualy goes away but with me it just one day never stopped .
       
    2. Jeff M.
      Cowabunga

      Jeff M. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      La Jolla, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct. 2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic
      Hi ananasdrink, Sorry to hear you are suffering!! I hope you find relief soon!!:)

      I do not know if severe anxiety can lead to tinnitus, but it sure works the other way around!!! When my T first set in, I was leveled with anxiety and panic attacks!! Thank God those have gone now!!

      Take care!!
       
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    3. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      I don't think so. I don't think there is proof anywhere that anxiety can cause tinnitus (maybe I'm wrong).

      Maybe your system was weakened at this point (more susceptible) but I don't think stress alone can cause this.

      I know a lot of highly stressed people with out tinnitus. Personally don't think there is a connection.

      Do you have hearing loss?
       
    4. gary
      Transparent

      gary Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Macomb, MI. USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who Knows
      I know for me when I am having a so so day & something happens to get me anxious, my T will rise. I too, like you & Jeff M have had panic attacks in the past, but we are talking 15-20 years ago, but who's to say, T is so elusive. I do remember that ringing sound coming on at the beginning of a panic attack.

      Either way I believe anxiety can cause T, and T can cause anxiety just like Jeff's....
       
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    5. Mr. Cartman
      Artistic

      Mr. Cartman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Yes, I believe it can. Maybe not directly, but indirectly.

      I have even spoken to a few people that claim they got T during a very stressful period and had it for a few months to a couple of years.
       
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    6. Mark McDill
      Curious

      Mark McDill Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Papillion, NE
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely stress, anxiety, an antibiotic and nsaids

      I was under great duress (anxiety, stress, depression) prior to, and at the onset of, my T; although I don't think it can singularly cause T, I wouldn't be surprised if it were one of the legs in a three-legged chair. Especially since anxiety wreaks havoc for those suffering T.
       
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    7. ananasdrink

      ananasdrink Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      january 2014
      i went to a ear specialist and he couldnt see anything wrong and my hearing was normal for a 30 year old...
       
    8. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Ya the thing is they check up until 8khz. I have normal hearing here too but the my upper frequencies-8k and up I'm almost totally deaf. I'm think most people with T, if not all have some hearing issues. Have you taken any meds lately ?
       
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    9. ananasdrink

      ananasdrink Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      january 2014
      yes the anxiety got higher after the T became a constant.. i just tought it weird that the two things came three months apart when i was perfectly fine before..
      i can handle the anxiety somewhat, but the tinnitus is a tough nut to crack..
       
    10. ananasdrink

      ananasdrink Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      january 2014
       
    11. ananasdrink

      ananasdrink Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      january 2014
      really.. i hope thats my case to...
      and if not then i think ill just get more and more used to it and it just becomes backround noise..
       
    12. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      I believe it's possible for temporary tinnitus to be caused by stress. Then, once your mind becomes aware of the sound, it can cause a sort of spiral, or syndrome, to occur, where you are aware of the tinnitus and become more stressed, and so on.....

      Here is an interesting article from the British Tinnitus Association about tinnitus and stress:
      http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/tinnitus-and-stress

      The key is to get the stress under control, and you will be less mindful of your tinnitus. If you can do that, your stress level will go down, too. In other words, it's a vicious cycle that you can break, if you work at it!!
       
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    13. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Not sure man. Mine was from pressure change-blocked ear, then meds.

      Guess tinnitus is a mystery sometimes.
       
    14. ananasdrink

      ananasdrink Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      january 2014
      yes it is,. my cousin is a musician and deals with loud music everyday , and has done for many years and no sign of any ringing... some people go to 1 koncert and they get chronic T,,
       
    15. ananasdrink

      ananasdrink Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      january 2014
      thanks..
      so you got tinnitus first ?
      glad that they have gone , they can really mess up the brain...
       
    16. gary
      Transparent

      gary Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Macomb, MI. USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who Knows
      I had four way bypass open heart surgery. Three months after is when my T started, could be the open heart surgery had more of an affect on me than I thought.

      Be sure to check out the link Karen included in her post. Some good reading there....
       
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    17. Mario martz
      Creative

      Mario martz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      This is my story, after a few months dealing with Anxiety and panic attacks
      finally one day i woke up with T.
      coincidence?
       
    18. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      There are certain signs that stress can play an important role in tinnitus, and more studies in this area may begin to show some solid conclusive proof. There is some evidence however - scientific and anecdotal - that shows stress is a very important contributor.

      A common feature of burnout syndrome, for example, is tinnitus. Why is this? You could find a relationship between excessive cortisol levels in the bloodstream - over an extended period of time - and problems with tinnitus arising or getting worse. There is certainly a lot of evidence to support this from the frequent reports of tinnitus arising after intense periods of emotional stress. Excessive cortisol is not good for us and can cause all kinds of problems if left unchecked. Another issue is that many people are simply unaware that their cortisol levels are high, as they adapt or get used to it. Stress in this instance is a hidden danger.

      Here is a link explaining more on the subject; I will copy and paste the content below:
      http://www.deutsche-tinnitus-stiftung-charite.de/en/projects/tinnitus_and_stress/

      "Many people who suffer from tinnitus believe that stress is the cause. And first studies indicate that there is indeed a connection. What is lacking is scientific proof.
      The project “Influence of emotional stress on auditory functions” (for short: “Tinnitus and Stress”) is contributing to remedying this lack. It draws on research done by the molecular biology research laboratory of the ENT Clinic and the Tinnitus Center Charité.

      It is established that chronic stress can in general induce and exacerbate changes to the auditory system. They include above all the hypersensitization of auditory perception (hyperacusis), tinnitus, and Menière's disease, a disorder of the inner ear that leads to attacks of rotatory vertigo, one-sided hearing loss, and ringing in the ears.

      But how does stress arise? As a rule it develops when people cannot cope with the growing and/or unexpected demands of their environment. They live under constant emotional pressure. The most frequent reaction is to deny any physical risk in an effort to enhance one's own achievement potential and staying power.

      The physical effects of stress include increased production of the stress hormone cortisol. This raises the blood sugar level (gluconeogenesis) and intensifies the breakdown of stored fat (lipolysis), as well as protein breakdown (proteolysis), making more energy available. Higher blood pressure, a high pulse rate, and constipation are the result. But the immune system also suffers. Many patients complain of sleeplessness and a lack of appetite, psychomotor disturbances, and growing feelings of anxiety.

      According to Professor Birgit Mazurek, “All these stress-induced mental changes can also influence auditory phenomena, leading, for example to the development of tinnitus or the exacerbation of an existing tinnitus. In the ear, cortisol causes a massive release of glutamate into the neurons. This ultimately leads to a greater accumulation of calcium, which damages auditory sensory cells and nerve cells in the ear.”

      With the “Stress and Tinnitus” project, the Foundation seeks to promote research in this field to develop better individual therapeutic approaches for patients with tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      The HEINZ AND HEIDE DÜRR FOUNDATION is contributing € 150,000 over a period of three years to fund the research project."

      Here is another study that finds evidence of stress having a direct effect on tinnitus. Again, I will quote some excerpts below, but I highly recommend reading the whole study:

      http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6815/12/4

      "We report three novel findings that establish differences between tinnitus participants and controls in terms of cortisol hypersuppression, longer-lasting effects of the DEX test on basal cortisol levels, and hearing discomfort threshold. The first novel finding is that tinnitus participants had more strongly suppressed cortisol levels than controls after pharmacological challenge, despite similar basal cortisol levels. This is consistent with the normal diurnal and blunted response to psychosocial stress in tinnitus participants described in a previous study [23], and supports the hypothesis that tinnitus participants have greater sensitivity to HPA axis negative feedback. Hypersuppression in the presence of normal or near-normal basal cortisol levels has also been found in other clinical populations, such as patients with chronic fatigue syndrome [4547] and burnout [48]. All these findings are consistent with the notion that basal cortisol and post-DEX cortisol suppression are mediated by two separate receptor feedback systems. More importantly, the suppression effect was independent of hearing loss. This is a key finding, because these factors are difficult to disentangle in tinnitus studies [19, 23], and it argues for a true effect of tinnitus in addition to, but unrelated to, hearing loss. Our findings therefore directly link tinnitus to a stress-related disorder, and not just to a hearing-related disorder, as some recent population studies suggest [12, 49].

      The second important finding is that tinnitus participants showed a long-lasting carryover effect of cortisol manipulation. They had lower basal cortisol the day after the post-DEX day assessment compared to the two other basal cortisol assessment days, indicating not only cortisol hypersuppression, but also a longer-lasting effect of DEX administration. Although it cannot be excluded that these findings could be related to slower DEX clearance in these patients, this possibility is unlikely, because there is no rationale for altered liver function in this particular group, which moreover did not differ from controls in terms of age, BMI, or physical or mental health. Furthermore, the carryover effect was observed in the tinnitus participants approximately 36 hours after DEX administration, whereas cortisol and DEX levels should return to baseline 24 hours after oral administration of 0.5 mg DEX [50]. A likely interpretation is that the carryover effect might have been due to HPA axis homeostatic vulnerability, and that hypersuppression might have been caused by increased glucocorticoid sensitivity."

      "Subjective tinnitus ("tinnitus") is the perception of sound in the ears or head in the absence of an external sound and difficult to treat. Individuals with tinnitus can experience severe emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia [15]. A recent study in 14,278 adults reported an overall prevalence of 25.3% for any experience of tinnitus in the previous year and 7.9% for frequent or constant (at least once a day) tinnitus [6]. Prevalence increases with age, peaking at 31.4% and 14.3% from age 60 to 69 years for these two tinnitus frequencies, respectively [6]. The increasing prevalence with age is not surprising, because hearing loss is known to be an associated risk factor for tinnitus [7]. With increasing life expectancy, and because hearing loss and noise exposure are increasingly affecting military personnel [8, 9] and youth [10], tinnitus has become a significant public health issue.

      Hearing loss predicts tinnitus presence, but not severity [11, 12]. Conversely, individuals with hearing loss do not necessarily experience tinnitus. There is therefore a need to determine other factors for this debilitating hearing disorder and its consequences for health in order to better prevent and treat it. One likely candidate is stress. Because stress has long been identified as a trigger or co-morbidity of tinnitus, based mainly on anecdotal and retrospective reports, this idea has been taken for granted in classical teachings on tinnitus [13]. In addition, recent large population studies have established that emotional exhaustion and long-term stress are predictors of hearing disorders, including tinnitus [14, 15]. Functional and electroencephalographic brain imaging studies have also shown aberrant links between limbic (involved in emotions) and auditory system structures [1618]. Structural brain differences (i.e., grey matter decrease) in tinnitus involving parts of the limbic system have also been reported. More specifically, less grey matter in the nucleus accumbens [18, 19] and the left hippocampus [20] suggests a depletion that could be related to long-term exposure to stress, among other factors."

      "Our findings suggest heightened glucocorticoid sensitivity in tinnitus in terms of an abnormally strong GR-mediated HPA-axis feedback (despite a normal MR-mediated tone) and lower tolerance for sound loudness with suppressed cortisol levels. Long-term stress exposure and its deleterious effects therefore constitute an important predisposing factor for, or a significant pathological consequence of, this debilitating hearing disorder."
       
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    19. Harriett

      Harriett Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13/05/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi Ed,

      I found your research really seems to sound like my current situation. I was lying in bed a week ago when the high pitched noises started. I have not recently been near any loud noises. I am however in the middle of my finals for university, though I was well prepared for these so wasn't too stressed.

      I have also over the past 3 weeks been severely constipated which caused/ is causing me a lot of distress (I saw this seemed to be a relating factor in your research). I did not sleep for 7 days straight due to the noise in my ears and it seems that the noises are getting louder slowly. Though I felt fine previously to the constipation/tinnitus, I am now having regular panic attacks and am feeling extremely depressed from the constant noise and sleep deprivation. The doctors have checked my ears and blood pressure and everything is fine.

      From the research you have done, I wanted to know your opinion about whether you think there is a chance the tinnitus might stop if I take care of myself and don't subject myself to any stress for a while. Many websites claim it can get better in some cases but if you read it properly all they say is that you learn to adapt and it might get quieter, but they never say it fully goes away. I was hoping for your opinion of if from the research you've conducted in this area you think I might be able to stop this noise in my ears?

      Many thanks

      Harriett
       
    20. Martin69
      Artistic

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      You exactly describe my case. Burnout caused symptoms (vertigo, migraines, exhaustion). This caused anxiety having a brain tumor. And this caused T for me. Too much Cortisol in my body. Question is if this can be reversed.
       
    21. truesilence

      truesilence Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2014
      All the ENT people I spoke to believed that stress and anxiety can cause T. One audiologist claimed said that their ears would ring when under a lot of stress. I even know a few people who got T because of stress and eventually it went away. Godamnit, why won't mine go away!!! :cry::cry::cry:
       
    22. whale
      No Mood

      whale Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/25/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Myofascial crap Bruxism, a jackhammer, stress who knows

      It can improve, and cure. You have to accept you have it and will for some time, maybe forever and be ok with that. Stop stressing over it. it will only improve if you accept it and just work on habituation. if you remove your stress and anxiety , maybe with help from cognitive behavioral therapy. The few people I know that were cured from stress induce T, first gave up and just learned to live a happy lives with it. then after a few months or year or so of happy living their T faded away over time. No matter how you get your T it wont improve unless you accept it.
       

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