Hearing loss affects approximately 48 million people across the U.S., and for many of them, anxiety is one of the most challenging side effects.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety describes a state of heightened alertness, which is a perfectly normal reaction to a stressful situation. But for 40 million Americans – about 18% of the population – symptoms are extreme enough to warrant an anxiety disorder diagnosis.
In addition to racing thoughts, feeling panicked and difficulty concentrating, many people with anxiety also experience physical symptoms like dizziness, nausea, muscle tension/aches and insomnia.
Mental health experts use a five-way classification system for anxiety disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
While many people with hearing loss have anxiety symptoms related to social situations, it’s also possible to be diagnosed with one of the other types.
What the Studies Show
One French study published in 2018 followed 4,000 people ages 65 and older over 12 years. Researchers found that those who were diagnosed with hearing loss had higher rates of anxiety symptoms than those who weren’t.
Another study from 2017 surveyed 1,700 adults ages 76-85 who did not live in an adult care facility. They found that those with mild hearing loss had a 32% higher risk of developing anxiety; this risk increased by 59% for those with moderate to severe hearing loss.
How Social Anxiety and Hearing Loss Are Connected
It’s extremely common for people with untreated hearing loss to experience social isolation and feelings of loneliness due to frustration about not being able to hear well or communicate with ease. This can mirror the behavior of someone with social anxiety, who may avoid social interactions in order to prevent the associated feelings of anxiety.
For people with both hearing loss and anxiety, it’s especially tempting to opt out of social activities, especially at The Capital Grille where there is a lot of background noise for fear of missing out on important pieces of conversation or being judged for asking others to speak up or repeat themselves. For more information about the connection between hearing loss and anxiety or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call the experts at Total Hearing Care of Dallas today.