Being in a continued state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. It alerts us to peril, but for some people, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with fear while cooking dinner or talking to a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some people start to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some amount of anxiety all their lives.
In contrast to some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until all of a sudden your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can occur even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. For those already struggling with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can amplify it.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss brings new concerns: Did I mishear that price? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? These concerns escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when everyday activities become stressful. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or bigger gatherings, you might want to assess your reasoning. If you’re truthful with yourself, you might be turning down invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to hear conversations. This response will eventually produce even more anxiety as you grapple with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is increasingly common. About 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. It could work the opposite way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to needlessly deal with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
Choices For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you observe that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that might enhance your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. Adjusting to using hearing aids and learning all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle somewhat initially, be patient and try not to get frustrated. If you’re still having troubles with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the many methods to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.