Hearing Loss and Anxiety: Why It Happens and How to Cope

woman tries to comfort man

by Lauren Sherman, MS for NCOA

Hearing loss can make communication and social interactions more challenging, which can potentially impact your overall well-being. Difficulty understanding conversations, feelings of isolation, concerns about missing important information, and the constant strain to compensate for hearing loss can contribute to heightened anxiety levels.

Anxiety can affect hearing

Somewhat unknown or overlooked phenomenon: anxiety can affect your ability to hear. This can occur in a number of ways:

  • Stress response
  • Attentional bias
  • Catastrophic thinking

Hearing loss creates anxiety

Just as anxiety can affect hearing, hearing loss and conditions like tinnitus can be significant sources of anxiety. A review of studies involving more than 17,000 people with hearing loss found the prevalence of anxiety was higher among people with hearing impairment than the general population, with the severity of the impairment correlating with the severity of anxiety.

Hearing loss may lead to anxiety in several ways:

  • Communication difficulties
  • Cognitive strain
  • Social impact
  • Tinnitus-related distress
  • Uncertainty about the future

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