Hearing Impairment Frequently Causes Anxiety

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

Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some people get trapped in a continual state of alertness even when they aren’t in any peril. You might find yourself filled with feelings of dread while performing daily tasks. Everything seems more daunting than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.

And anxiety, for others, can become more than an emotional issue – the symptoms may 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 their whole lives.

Compared to some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until all of a sudden your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to learning you need glasses, but failing vision typically doesn’t cause the same amount of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never had severe anxiety this can still occur. For those already struggling with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.

What’s That?

Hearing loss brings new worries: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I keep asking people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? These concerns intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when day-to-day experiences become stressful. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re truthful with yourself, you might be turning down invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. This reaction will ultimately produce even more anxiety as you cope with the repercussions of self isolation.

Am I Alone?

You aren’t the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is increasingly common. About 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. The connection could go the other way as well. Some studies have shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many individuals continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.

Choices For Treatment

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

At first your anxiety could increase somewhat as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. Adapting to using 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 at first. If you’re still having problems with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to call your doctor. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the many methods to treat anxiety such as increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.

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.