Hearing Impairment Often Causes Anxiety

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

Being in a constant state of heightened 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’re not in any danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with fear while cooking dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.

And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some individuals start to feel a growing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some degree of anxiety all their lives.

Hearing loss doesn’t show up suddenly, unlike other age related health issues, it progresses gradually and typically unnoticed until one day your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but failing vision typically doesn’t cause the same degree of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can occur even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. For people already struggling with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can amplify it.

What Did You Say?

There are new concerns with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get aggravated with me? Will my children still call? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a common reaction. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you may be turning down invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This response will ultimately result in even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.

Am I Alone?

Others are also going through this. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. Anxiety conditions are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when left untreated. It may work the opposite way too. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of suffering from hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to needlessly cope with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.

Choices For Treatment

If hearing loss is causing you anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, especially if you’ve noticed a rapid change in your hearing. Hearing aids prevent embarrassment in social situations by preventing mis-communication which reduces anxiety.

At first your anxiety could increase somewhat as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to determine the ins and outs of hearing aids and adjust to using them. So if you struggle somewhat at first, be patient and try not to be discouraged. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. There are many methods to deal with anxiety, and your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes like 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.