Being in a continued state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some individuals get trapped in a continuous state of alertness even when they aren’t in any peril. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you may be simmering with fear while making dinner or calling 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 may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some individuals start to feel a growing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some amount of anxiety their whole lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up suddenly, unlike other age related health challenges, it progresses slowly and frequently unnoticed until one day your hearing professional 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 people. It can occur even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For people already struggling with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
Hearing loss brings new worries: How much did you say that cost? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a common reaction. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger get-togethers, you might want to think about your reasoning. Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep turning down invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. This reaction will eventually lead to even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling this way. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Around 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when neglected. It could work the opposite way too. According to some research, anxiety will actually increase your chances of developing 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 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 may enhance your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. Adjusting to using hearing aids and finding out all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to be discouraged. If you’re still having problems 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 numerous methods to treat anxiety such as increased exercise or a lifestyle change.