How anxiety affects hearing is the question many scientists explored for a long period of time, knowing that hearing loss is a natural consequence of aging.
It is around the age of thirty or forty that our hearing ability begins to diminish and, at age 80, more than half of us suffer from fairly significant deafness”.
Nevertheless, more than half of people with hearing loss are of working age. Another common cause is noise exposure. We live in a noisy world. Some are exposed to noise in their workplace, others expose themselves voluntarily.
This is the case for motorcycle enthusiasts and noisy music enthusiasts (regular rock concerts and nightclubs and addicted to stereos – with or without the use of headphones). In addition, an increase in the use of MP3 players causes more hearing damage.
Our hearing gets affected by the three different states we are in. This is based on the fight and flight module.
The three different states
- When we are well.
- When we are in fighter flight mode.
- When we are in the freezing zone (and so overwhelmed).
How Anxiety Affects Hearing
When we are in good space, we are feeling safe and in touch with our bodies and experience the world within our own skin bag. We have the ability to think and usually have a good sense of well-being. In this position, we can feel our energy, strength, and feel quite comfortable. In this state of well-being, our hearing is very good at focusing. So we can go to a pub and engage in a one on one conversation filtering any background noise.
“This means our ear is quite happy and subconsciously hearing the winter trees and baby crying but is blissfully unaware of it. So our nervous system filters out all the unnecessary and irrelevant noises”.
Contrarily, imagine yourself interacting with a bully or having a difficult time in a court case or that you are asked to go and work in a country that is so scary and dangerous to you. In this case, you are going to be in an activated state and your adrenaline level will be up and your hearing will be listening up for danger.
When we are in this state of nervous synthetic arousal or alert, our hearing is much more sensitive and we are listening out and detecting much more than normal. It is no longer safe and we need to know where the threat is coming from. So whether we like it or not, we are going to be listening too accurately and our ears are going to be acting like they are very big and picking out far more than they are normally used to.
“If this state becomes more and more dominant and our thoughts take over us a bit, it is almost like our thinking minds become louder and everything becomes much more acute. It is quite hard getting away from one’s thoughts”.
The tiniest noise or the tiniest suggestion of something and we already react. If we feel trapped by our life situation or have experienced abuse, traumatized with some awful events, or a massive evasive procedure that really has taken his toll-like accident or big operation, we can go into freezing response zone and be overwhelmed. This is extremely adrenal as we are listening out acutely like the danger is already upon us and us kind of give up or implode. In this state, the body goes numb and we space out.
“There is a sense of war, and we have a panic attack“.
This is one of the most horrible spaces to be in. When we are overwhelmed in this freezing response zone, we experience sympathetic shock and our hearing gets so supersensitized. We do not only listen to the noise of our central nervous system but also our internal thinking process loudly like almost like it is in our head.
Hearing voices has been so super stressed that the thought process sounds like it is speaking to you. And in this state as well, you can hear words repeatedly or the doorbell rings and it keeps on ringing. It is really hard to switch the music off inside your head or to stop thinking and hearing the voice of our own mind.
“If we are in wellbeing, fighter flight, and freezing response zone, our hearing changes automatically and hearing is based on this foundation”.
If we can allow ourselves to settle and get a therapeutic intervention to help our nervous system feel calm and safe again, our perception will change and reset itself automatically back to normal. This will be done in a way that we do not need to worry about our hearing and have a form of safety back inside our experience.