Your ears and your hearing are surprisingly sensitive to change. Much like the way that your ears pop and plug whenever you go up or down hills, the smallest change in your body's stasis can cause your hearing and your ears to feel very different than they were previously.
Since anxiety is a complete body condition, it should be no surprise that anxiety also can affect your hearing. But how? We'll explore that in this article.
Is Your Hearing Affected by Anxiety?
It doesn't matter what symptoms you're experiencing. If you're dealing with anxiety, it's something you need to cure. Find out more about how to cure anxiety with my free 7 minute anxiety test.
Issues That Create Affected Hearing
Some of the symptoms of anxiety represent real changes in the way your body reacts to stress. Others are perceived changes - meaning that your symptoms aren't caused by any physical issue, but rather the way that your mind converts information.
First, make sure you take my free 7 minute anxiety test to get a better idea of what causes anxiety and what you can do to stop it. There are many different issues related to anxiety that affect hearing, and not all of them are well understood. These include:
- Trouble Focusing on Sound Probably the most common issue is difficulty focusing on sound or conversation. During intense anxiety when the brain is moving a mile a minute, it's not uncommon to find yourself "zoning out" to your thoughts, unable to pay attention to the world around you. That means that you may not be able to hear everything someone says while talking to you. It's not that you're not hearing it. Instead, your brain is simply not processing it.
- Noticing Unusual Sounds Anxiety also makes you more prone to feeling "on edge," and that means that you may start noticing all of these sounds and noises that you hadn't noticed before. Those with anxiety often hear every little creak, bump, etc., and in some cases these noises can create more anxiety.
- Auditory Hallucinations While rare, some people report auditory hallucinations. Hearing voices is incredibly rare, and may be the sign of another issue. But some people may hear pops, or strange noises that no one else hears. Others may also hear what they think is a voice, such as someone saying their name when it's not said. Interestingly, no one is really sure what causes these from anxiety, but it's likely that your brain is simply processing information poorly.
- Tinnitus Tinnitus is a chronic ringing of the ears that is more common as you age. Anxiety doesn't create tinnitus, but studies have shown that anxiety increases the "loudness" of the ringing, as well as the perception of it. In other words, it may be both louder, and anxiety may make you prone to noticing it more.
These are simply a few of the ways that anxiety can affect hearing. There may be other ways as well. Some people report it sounds like they have surprise high pitched noises, almost like a nerve has been activated, only to slowly fade away. It's likely that this isn't anxiety related, but when you have anxiety you notice it and remember it more.
How to Stop Hearing Problems From Anxiety
There isn't a direct way to respond to hearing issues as they relate to anxiety. Remember, many of the hearing issues aren't problems at all - they're simply the way you interpret the sounds that you are hearing. Ideally, you simply need to reduce your worry about whether or not your hearing issues mean anything. When they're caused by anxiety, they do not.
The only way to stop hearing affected by anxiety is to fight the anxiety. For that, take my free 7 minute anxiety test. You'll find out more about what it takes to control your anxiety along with your complete anxiety profile.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.