The Relationship Between Hearing Loss and Anxiety
The prospect of living with hearing loss can certainly be anxiety-inducing. It’s not unusual to feel anxious about the prospect of wearing hearing aids, either. If left untreated, those conditions can negatively impact your quality of life.
Is Anxiety a Cause or an Effect of Hearing Loss?
Technically, it’s both. Hearing loss can make you feel anxious because of the obstacles it creates in your daily life. You may feel anxious about attending social gatherings because you’re embarrassed about asking others to repeat themselves or fear missing the punchline of a joke. You may also worry about missing sounds that keep you safe, such as emergency sirens, fire alarms and smoke detectors.
A hearing loss diagnosis can create a sense of anxiety because it’s often perceived as living with a chronic illness. You may ask questions such as:
- What does this mean for my life?
- Will my hearing loss affect my family or my career?
- Am I going to have to give up activities that I love?
- Why did this happen to me?
- Could I have prevented this?
- What do I do now?
Furthermore, anxiety can worsen your hearing loss. It triggers physical responses that impede your hearing, including raising your blood pressure, impairing concentration and causing auditory hallucinations. Those factors contribute to impaired hearing and can make it seem like your hearing loss is worsening.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Hearing loss and anxiety share some symptoms, so it’s important to spot the difference between the two conditions.If you have anxiety, you may experience:
- Increased heart rate or palpitations
- Muscle aches
- An overwhelming sense of dread
- A lack of concentration
- Ringing in your ears
Tips for Managing Your Symptoms
Visit an audiologist: You’ll undergo hearing evaluations to determine the cause and severity of your hearing loss. Audiologists will provide you specialized care to regulate adverse side effects, including anxiety. They can also prescribe hearing aids to improve your hearing loss and reduce listening fatigue.
Advocate for yourself: Don’t hesitate to express your needs, especially when it comes to your hearing. Ask others to get your attention and face you while speaking. Opt for one-on-one chats in a quiet space, so your ears aren’t contending with background noise.
Have a plan: Determine which scenarios cause you the most anxiety and create a plan to ease your mind. Talk to your audiologist about your concerns. They may suggest seeking psychological support services as well.
If your hearing loss is causing anxiety, come to Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte. Our expert team will address your concerns and create an appropriate care plan. Call 704-412-7975 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.