Hearing Loss, Anxiety, and Depression: How are They Connected?
Your physical and your mental health are deeply connected. When your mental health is poor, it impacts your body’s ability to function, and when your physical health is poor, it can cause a lot of mental stress. One of your physical processes that can be directly connected to your mental health is your hearing.
Anxiety, Depression, and Tinnitus
Tinnitus is something you might have experienced if you have ever had ringing in your ears. It can happen spontaneously and go away quickly, or it can become a chronic issue. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 10% of adults in the United States experiences at least one form of tinnitus. It can occur for many different reasons, including depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are linked to excessive fatigue and increased tension. The tension can be focused in the jaw, and fatigue can cause an increase in yawning that aggravates your jaw. These factors may cause inflammation around your ear and ear canal that can lead to tinnitus. High blood pressure is also a symptom that can accompany mental health conditions, and it can cause a type of tinnitus called pulsatile tinnitus.
Anxiety, Depression, and Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a complex condition with a variety of possible symptoms and causes. One of these causes might be your mental health. During brief moments of high stress, your hearing can actually be heightened along with your other senses. When the stress becomes constant, it can block the signals to your brain that allow you to process what you’re hearing. You may start to misinterpret sounds and conversations.
The same high blood pressure that can cause tinnitus can also eventually lead to hearing loss. Over time, hypertension causes damage to blood vessels, including the vessels in the structures of your ear that allow you to hear.
Hearing Loss’s Impact on Mental Health
Hearing loss can cause mental health struggles or make existing conditions worse. When you experience hearing loss, it’s not uncommon for feelings of loneliness and isolation to come up. You might struggle in social settings, work environments, or even with the activities you’re accustomed to doing with your loved ones, like watching movies. Over time, this can lead to a decline in your mental state.
Hearing loss, depression, and anxiety are all difficult conditions to navigate. They can derail your life in major ways when left untreated. If you’re noticing symptoms of hearing loss, tinnitus, or depression, be sure to contact a health care professional. The sooner you seek treatment, the better life you’ll be able to live.
If you are experiencing signs of hearing loss, it may be time for a hearing exam. Call our office to schedule your exam today!