Being in a persistent state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. It warns us of peril, but for some, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential danger. You could find yourself filled with feelings of dread while doing daily tasks. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
For other individuals, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some might struggle with these feelings all of their lives, while others may find as their hearing gets worse, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up suddenly, unlike other age related health concerns, it progresses slowly and often unnoticed until suddenly your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to learning you need glasses, but hearing loss can trigger anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many people. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for people who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
Hearing loss brings new concerns: Did I mishear that price? How many times can I say “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? These worries escalate as anxiety takes hold, which is a normal reaction, especially when day-to-day activities become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or bigger get-togethers, you may want to assess why. If you’re honest with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. While this could help temporarily, over time, you will feel more separated, which will result in increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Anxiety conditions are an issue for 18% of the population. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. The connection may go the other way too. According to some research, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to needlessly cope with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
If hearing loss is producing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, especially if you’ve noticed a rapid change in your hearing. Hearing aids prevent embarrassment in social situations by preventing mis-communication which reduces anxiety.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could enhance your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and adjust to using them. So if you struggle somewhat at first, be patient and try not to be discouraged. If you’re still having troubles with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to call your doctor. There are many methods to manage anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like increased exercise, to benefit your individual situation.