Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. It warns us of peril, but for some, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you might be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it usually would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
For others, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some may grapple with these feelings their whole lives, while other people might find as their hearing gets worse, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Unlike some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing professional informs you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many people. It can happen even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already suffer from depression or anxiety.
Hearing loss creates new worries: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my children still call? These fears intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when everyday experiences become stressful. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you might be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to hear conversations. This response will eventually result in even more anxiety as you grapple with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Anxiety conditions are an issue for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, particularly when ignored, raises the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. The connection could go the other way as well. According to some research, anxiety will actually raise your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to unnecessarily deal with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
What Are The Treatment Options?
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 suddenly 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 somewhat at first, be patient and try not to get 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 suggest one or more of the many strategies to treat anxiety like more exercise or a change in lifestyle.