Being in a continued state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. It alerts us to peril, but for some, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential threat. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you might be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or talking to a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
For others, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some might grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while others may find as their hearing worsens, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
In contrast to some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many individuals. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for people who already struggle with anxiety or depression.
Hearing loss brings new worries: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? When day-to-day activities become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a common reaction. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you might be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This reaction will eventually produce even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety disorders are an issue for 18% of the population. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when neglected. The correlation could go the other way also. Some studies have shown that anxiety raises your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to unnecessarily deal with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
Options For Treatment
If hearing loss is producing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you find that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing mis-communication which reduces anxiety.
At first your anxiety may increase somewhat as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to determine the ins and outs of hearing aids and get used to using them. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to get discouraged. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the numerous methods to treat anxiety like increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.