It is not a thought that one often has that connects the logic of the sentiment from beginning to end, but a recent study in France has shown that struggling through everyday situations can be particularly challenging for people who experience hearing loss. As it happens, navigating that daily hum-drum of life as a person with optimum hearing can be a challenge in and of itself, but when a person’s situational awareness is drastically or even moderately impacted by the loss of hearing, the outcome of that situation can often be directly related to a person’s overall state of mental health, including – issues with anxiety and overall coping methods.
The study over 12 years and including nearly 4,000 Frenchmen aged 65 and up and diagnosed with hearing loss from the start of the study, showed a greater chance of developing symptoms of anxiety over time.
What they also found, however, is that people with vision loss were not more likely to become anxious, furthering the belief that our hearing has a much bigger part to play on our overall capacity to cope with everyday life, than what we might have thought.
In a further study of more than 1,700 adults aged 76-85 who were not living in an institution and had mild hearing loss, they had a 32% higher risk of reporting anxiety, whereas people with a moderate or severe hearing loss had a 59% chance of experiencing issues with anxiety.
Those figures amount to a massive implication in the quality of life that one might experience as a consequence of hearing loss or difficulty, as for people who experience hearing loss it is already a challenge to conduct day-to-day business and this can also lead to increased rates of isolation, a problem in and of itself to be sure but certainly exacerbated when factoring in anxiety concerns.
How To Know If You Experience Social Anxiety
Presbycusis, more commonly known as age-related hearing loss, will sneak up on a person over some time and this can make diagnosing it in good time a challenge. It may take some time before people realize that what they thought was just a noisy social engagement, was actually just them battling to process all the sounds and noises around them.
This can lead to exclusion from social activities or family engagements because those who experience hearing loss can often find that experience combined with embarrassment and the combination of all of that, can lead to feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
People who have social anxiety are generally apprehensive of many situations in which they could be negatively judged like conversations at work with superior managers or supervisors or when trying to engage in small-talk at parties.
Hearing Loss-Induced Anxiety?
Hearing loss can indeed and does create situations that can cause frustration in other people and when you can’t hear well, you may well miss out on clues that let you know when someone is finished talking or is about to start. You might think you’ve heard one thing when another has been said and this could cause an inappropriate response, in turn resulting in some red faces. All of these issues and more could lead to additional feelings of isolation and this may well form the basis of feelings of anxiety.
Now, these feelings can present at any stage of your hearing loss journey and you must arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible in this regard, even if you have only just been diagnosed with hearing loss. For some people, the diagnosis itself is enough to spark feelings of anxiety as the contemplation of a whole new future becomes clearer and more real.
Remember that anxiety is a persistent heightened state of alert, and while a normal reaction to stressful situations, for some people these feelings can spiral out of control and become a disorder.
Now, hearing loss can trigger these feelings of anxiety and these can then be compounded by further issues that happen as a result of that anxiety. As always, each of these issues needs to be treated holistically and as part of an ongoing general healthcare regimen and a visit to your audiologist is a great place to start. They can help you understand what implications hearing loss can have on your overall situation and advise on care and the way forward.
To learn more about Alliance Center for Hearing call us today at (701) 401-9719.