Being in a continual state of heightened 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 threat. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you might be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
For other individuals, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some might struggle with these feelings their whole lives, while others may find that as their hearing declines, they begin to feel heightened anxiety.
In contrast to some aging issues which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can trigger anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many people. Even if you’ve never had severe anxiety this can still occur. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already struggle with anxiety or depression.
Hearing loss creates new concerns: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “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 sets in, which is a normal reaction, particularly when daily experiences become stressful. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or larger get-togethers, you might want to assess why. If you’re truthful with yourself, you might be turning down invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. While this might help in the short-term, in the long-term, you will become more separated, which will lead to 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. About 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety disorder. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when neglected. The connection could go the other way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals continue to cope with both needlessly.
Choices For Treatment
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should come in to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, especially if you’ve observed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that may enhance your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. It can take weeks to learn the ins and outs of hearing aids and get used to using them. So if you struggle a little initially, be patient and try not to be frustrated. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the numerous methods to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.