The psychological and physical systems of the human body are closely linked, so if you struggle with anxiety, you may find your hearing is off as well.
How Anxiety Affects Hearing
Anxiety is the body’s response to stress. Anxiety conditions can make you feel uneasy without an apparent cause. Extended periods of anxiety can wreak havoc on your health, including your hearing.
Tinnitus: The perceived ringing or buzzing in your ears is aggravated by stress and high hypertension, or high blood pressure. Hypertension increases when anxiety takes hold, making the ringing seem louder.
Balance: Tube-like mechanisms in your ears help maintain your balance. Anxiety can cause dizziness and make it difficult to walk or drive.
Perceived hearing loss: The physical and emotional effects of anxiety may cause impaired concentration. Your brain devotes more energy toward the fight-or-flight instinct, so you miss sounds and speech you usually notice.
Intensified sounds: You may also feel like you hear unusual sounds because anxiety puts your senses on edge. These “noises” can further intensify your anxiety.
How Hearing Loss Creates Anxiety
Just as anxiety can cause difficulty with hearing, hearing loss can create an environment that perpetuates anxiety.
Embarrassment: Regularly asking others to repeat themselves can make someone with hearing loss feel embarrassed. They may also repeat things that have already been said and don’t want others to laugh.
Fear: Embarrassment can create a fear of social settings or encountering new situations. Those with hearing loss may also be afraid of missing auditory cues, like alarms, that affect their safety.
Isolation: The anxiety created by embarrassment and fear can make people hesitant about social interaction. It’s not uncommon for people to isolate themselves when they begin to lose their hearing. Isolation increases the risk of anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline.
How To Break The Cycle
If you suffer from anxiety and hearing loss, treating one typically improves the other. Hearing aids will improve your ability to socialize and reduce your risk of isolation. Staying socially engaged is also recommended to reduce anxiety symptoms.
Talk to your primary care physician about medication and therapy to help you cope with anxiety. You may begin to notice your hearing issues subside too.