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What Is the Connection Between Hearing Loss and Anxiety?

If you suspect your hearing has gotten worse, or if you have recently been diagnosed with hearing loss, you may be feeling anxious. Anxiety, which is a persistent heightened state of alert, is normal with any stressful situation, including those related to your health and wellbeing. However, when normal anxiety becomes long-lasting and invasive, it becomes a disorder in and of itself. Over the years, research has shown that hearing loss and anxiety are connected. What is that connection?
Types of Anxiety
Mental health professionals generally distinguish between five types of anxiety:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

Hearing loss may be related to various types of anxiety. For example, if you are involved in an accident or injury that leads to sudden hearing loss, you may experience post-traumatic stress disorder. On the other hand, if you have hearing loss but are constantly looking for symptoms of dementia, you may have generalized anxiety disorder.
In addition to causing constant “what if” worries, anxiety can also cause physical symptoms. These may include nausea, muscle aches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, or a feeling of dread. If anxious thoughts and physical symptoms are persistent and interfere with your quality of life, it may be time to seek professional help.
The Link between Hearing Loss and Anxiety
If you have hearing loss, you may feel that you have a lot to worry about. What if you don’t hear something important? What if you can’t hear someone talking at dinner? What if you miss the punchline to a joke? What if your hearing aid batteries die? What if you misunderstand someone and embarrass yourself? These “what if” scenarios could go on and on.
Research supports the link between hearing loss and anxiety. In one study of nearly 4,000 French people aged 65 and older that was conducted over a 12-year period, researchers found that people diagnosed with hearing loss at the beginning of the study had a greater likelihood of developing anxiety symptoms over time. Another study of more than 1,700 adults aged 76 to 85 found that having mild hearing loss resulted in a 32 percent higher risk of reporting anxiety. For those with moderate or higher hearing loss, the risk of anxiety increased to 59 percent.
The connection between hearing loss and anxiety seems to go the other way, too. One study of more than 10,500 adults in Taiwan found that those with an anxiety disorder had a greater risk of sudden hearing loss. In the French study mentioned above, participants who reported generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) but not hearing loss at the beginning of the study were more likely to develop hearing loss than those without GAD.
Worry about Hearing Loss vs. Social Anxiety
If you have hearing loss, you may feel anxious about social situations. How can you tell whether you have social anxiety or you’re simply worried about social interactions?
In general, people with social anxiety feel anxious about any situation in which they might be negatively judged, whether it’s a date, job interview, party, small talk, or group lunch. If you have hearing loss, you may also feel anxious about social situations, especially if you are worried about not being able to hear, about mishearing other people, or about feeling left out. If you can solve your worries by using a hearing aid, you probably don’t have social anxiety. If you feel anxious about social situations but still enjoy being around people, your social anxiety may be mild. If you have extreme social anxiety, simply sitting near other people could make you anxious.
The Takeaway
Research has shown that hearing loss and anxiety are connected, although further research remains to be done to explore exactly how these two conditions are linked. Fortunately, anxiety is highly treatable. If you believe that you have anxiety—whether or not you think it’s related to hearing loss—you can seek help from a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist. Of course, hearing aids are available to treat hearing loss as well, which may alleviate some of your anxious thinking.
To learn more about the link between hearing loss and anxiety, we welcome you to contact our office today. We are happy to provide the information you need.

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Does a Tongue Tie or a Lip Tie Cause Speech Disorders?

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Typically, a speech disorder co-exists with lip and/or tongue-tie. Despite years of research that have shown inconclusive results or no effects on speech production via tongue-tie release and/or lip tie release, people are still having surgery to “fix” speech impairments in children. However, research has proven that tongue-tie or ankyloglossia does adversely affect breastfeeding in newborns. Therefore, tongue and lip ties are typically found during infancy and parents are given the option to surgically remediate or use alternate means to assist with breastfeeding.

Dr. Messner, Chief of Otolaryngology of Texas Children’s Hospital, and several of her colleagues developed the “Clinical Consensus Statement: Ankyloglossia in Children. Dr. Messner and her colleagues developed their statement after review of multiple medical research studies to identify and seek consensus on issues and controversies related to ankyloglossia and upper lip tie in children by using methodology established for the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Clinic” (Messner et al, 2020). Per their findings, “ankyloglossia does not typically affect speech” (Messner et al, 2020). The physicians, Dr. Messner and her associates further state in the consensus, “A consultation with a speech pathologist is encouraged before frenotomy/frenuloplasty in an older child who is undergoing the procedure for speech concerns. The purpose of the consultation with the speech pathologist is to confirm that there is a significant tongue-tie affecting the speech before any surgery is performed” (2020).

Truth behind Tongue Tissue and Lip Tissue:

Continue reading Does a Tongue Tie or a Lip Tie Cause Speech Disorders?

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How to Read an Audiogram

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By: Dr. Carrie Raz, AuD, CCC-A

So, you had a hearing test done and don’t understand what the graph means. This is to help break down what it all means for you to better understand your test results. It is color coded and labeled for left and right. The right ear is red, or O’s and the left is blue, or X’s. The horizontal axis is frequency low bass tones on the left and high pitch treble on the right side. The vertical axis is volume, typically the top is extremely quiet, and the bottom is very loud. Normal hearing is ≤20 dB HL. With hearing test there is no pass or fail, it is what it is. There are also no “normal for my age” categories, normal is normal for humans at every age. Any X’s or O’s that fall below 20 dB HL on the vertical axis would be defined as a hearing loss. Below is what the most common type of hearing loss looks like. The average hearing loss starts in the high frequencies only. Most people state, “I hear fine, but I don’t understand.” This hearing loss is easily treatable, and it is recommended to treat it as early as it is diagnosed.




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Now that we know how to promote consistency, how do we make sure our models and support are helpful to them?

Research suggests that children with autism are more likely to have a super-sized capacity for visual and auditory perception. Basically, they experience the world first and foremost through their eyes and ears, and are easily overwhelmed by how much information their little eye-balls and ears take in! You might notice that for many preschoolers with autism, they will either look like a tornado being pulled in every direction or they will fixate on one object or sound and block everything else out. Often it’s hard to find an in-between and usually speech and language is what’s ignored. When they are showing you signs that their brain is in tornado mode, you can be sure they aren’t taking in any one thing. This is comparable to being in a loud restaurant. When there are too many sounds going on at once, we aren’t able to pick out one in particular so everything is canceled out and we just hear noise. When a child with autism becomes overwhelmed auditorily they will often rely on their visual cortex to process the information. This means that when we are teaching speech and language, a child might become overwhelmed with the auditory input and cover their ears or try to find something else to fixate on. This reinforces this very important concept:

We have to teach communication skills visually!

This means very slow models of speech sound all up in their face! They should have a clear view of our mouth and be focusing on what our mouth is doing and the sound we are making. The slower the better! Talk in slow motion and pretend like you are mouthing the words to someone across the room. You want to keep the movements slow and exaggerate the movements. It also helps to be at eye level. This seems a bit much but the goal is no blow-offs; it’s a lot harder to ignore someone when they are speaking really slowly right in front of your face! So here’s a recap:

  • Always use visuals
  • No blow-offs: if they aren’t looking they aren’t listening
  • Slow motion talking with BIG and OVER EXAGGERATED movements
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Getting Your Hearing Checked Can Improve Your Mood. Here’s Why.

For many people, your hearing is a part of your health that you take for granted—until you notice a problem. If you experience hearing loss or another issue with your hearing, such as tinnitus, you understand that hearing is an important part of your overall health. Your hearing plays into your well-being and quality of life, so it is essential that you be proactive about your hearing health. In addition, getting your hearing checked can improve your mood as well. Here’s why.
The Connection between Mental Health and Physical Health
Your mental health and physical health are closely linked. This is why you might feel down when you are ill or are experiencing physical health challenges. Of course, this applies to more than a cold or the flu, which might make you feel glum for a few days. Taking care of your physical health—including your hearing—can benefit your mental health.
For just a moment, forget about learning how good your hearing is and whether you need treatment. The simple act of getting your hearing checked signals to your mind that you are taking care of your physical health and being proactive, which can lead to improved mood and mental health. Even before you learn the results of your hearing test, you may notice an elevated mood. Putting in the time and effort to take care of yourself physically can pay off in your mental health.
The Link between Hearing Health and Depression
Numerous studies have shown that hearing loss and depression are linked. Adults with hearing loss, especially untreated hearing loss, are more likely to suffer from depression. While this doesn’t mean you will definitely experience depression if you have hearing loss, it is certainly a link to be aware of.
Because of this connection, it is important to get your hearing checked on a regular basis. This will enable you to better understand the current state of your hearing health and take action if needed. Again, those with untreated hearing loss are at a greater risk for depression, so getting tested and treating any hearing loss can help to lower your risk for depression and improve your mood. You can also feel good from knowing that you are taking care of both your physical and mental health by having your hearing checked.
Address Hearing Loss Directly
In retrospect, many people find that they did not address their hearing loss as directly as they wish they would have. Perhaps they were in denial that they were experiencing hearing loss, or maybe they were reluctant to use hearing aids. On an unconscious (or in some cases, conscious) level, these people knew they were leaving their hearing health untreated.
Being proactive and addressing hearing loss directly can boost your mood and help you feel good about yourself and how you are caring for your health. In addition, being more direct about taking care of your hearing can be beneficial in helping you get the treatment you need for hearing loss.
For more information about how getting your hearing checked can improve your mood, or to schedule your appointment for a hearing test with our professional team, we welcome you to contact our hearing practice today.