Hearing loss and anxiety

Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in Australia affecting one in seven people.1 People with untreated hearing loss may become withdrawn and socially isolated, further increasing their susceptibility to psychological conditions like anxiety.2

Anxiety can impact many areas of people’s lives, so it’s important to know the signs and seek help early on. The good news is there are many effective treatments to stop anxiety from taking control and help people enjoy life again.

What is anxiety?

It’s normal and natural to feel anxious sometimes but for some people anxious feelings become intense, are difficult to control and may even happen for no apparent reason. The anxiety may affect how people go about their daily lives and make it hard to deal with day to day challenges. There are many different types of anxiety including phobias, obsessions, panic disorders and generalised anxiety disorder.

What are the signs of anxiety?

Not everyone experiencing anxiety will have the same symptoms, but some common signs are feelings of tension, panic, agitation, racing heart or dry throat, feeling overwhelmed or having snowballing worries. Some people may also have trouble sleeping or concentrating. 

What should I do if I think I may have anxiety?

There are many very effective treatments for anxiety, from psychological therapies to self-care and, in some cases, medication. It pays to get support and advice from a professional early on so you can start to enjoy life again without the strain and distress anxiety can bring.

What can I do at home to manage my anxiety?

You’ll be pleased to know there’s a lot you can do to help yourself manage anxiety. A healthy lifestyle including balanced diet, exercise, sleep and avoiding stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine have all been proven to help. You can also learn ways to manage stress, such as meditation and simple relaxation techniques.

Can wearing hearing aids help?

Yes! Wearing hearing aids will help in many ways. First, it will reduce the overall stress and fatigue, which have been known to contribute to anxiety. Your sense of safety may also be stronger — knowing you’ll be able to hear alarms or threats might help you relax. Finally, you’ll feel more confident in your everyday life such as work, shopping or socialising if your hearing loss is treated.

Who can I contact for more information or if I’m concerned for myself or my loved one?

Lifeline (crisis support) – 13 11 14
Beyond Blue (advice and support 24/7) – 1300 22 4636
www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
www.beyondblue.org.au
www.lifeline.org.au

References

1Australian Government Department of Health, "Prevalence of mental disorders in the Australian population," 2009.
2Chia E, et al., Hearing Impairment and Health-Related Quality of Life: The Blue Mountains Hearing Study, Ear & Hearing, Apr; 28(2):187-195
https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/clinical-resources/anxiety
http://resources.beyondblue.org.au/prism/file?token=BL/0692
http://phb.secondsensehearing.com/content/hearing-aids-help-relieve-social-anxiety
http://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52532-How-hearing-loss-can-impact-mental-health 

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