Hearing Loss Often Causes Anxiety

Man feeling anxious because he can’t hear the conversation.

Being in a persistent state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some people get stuck in a continuous state of alertness even when they aren’t in any danger. You may find yourself filled with feelings of dread while performing daily tasks. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more daunting than it should.

For other individuals, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some may struggle with these feelings all of their lives, while other people might find that as their hearing worsens, they begin to feel increased anxiety.

Hearing loss doesn’t emerge suddenly, unlike other age related health problems, it advances gradually and often unnoticed until one day your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can happen even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already struggle with anxiety or depression.

What’s That?

There are new concerns with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat themselves, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will my kids still call? When daily activities become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal reaction. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or larger get-togethers, you might want to evaluate why. Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. While this could help temporarily, in the long-term, you will grow more isolated, which will lead to increased anxiety.

Am I Alone?

You aren’t the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. Roughly 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. The connection could go the other way also. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of suffering from hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many individuals continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.

What Are The Treatment Options?

If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should come in to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t wait until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve detected a sudden change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.

At first your anxiety might increase somewhat due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. Adjusting to wearing hearing aids and finding out all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get frustrated if you struggle with them initially. If you’re still having issues with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. There are numerous ways to manage anxiety, and your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.