Being in a constant state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. It alerts us to peril, but for some people, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you may be simmering with fear while cooking dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
For other individuals, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some might suffer from these feelings their whole lives, while others may find that as their hearing gets worse, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Compared to some aging issues which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until one day your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but failing vision often doesn’t cause the same level of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. Hearing loss can make it even worse for individuals who already struggle with anxiety or depression.
There are new worries with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? How many times can I say “huh”? If I keep asking people to repeat themselves, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will my kids still call? These worries escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, particularly when day-to-day experiences become stressful. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. While this might help in the short-term, in the long-term, you will become more separated, which will lead to additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling this way. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. About 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Hearing loss, especially when neglected, increases the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent studies. It may work the opposite way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to needlessly deal with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
Choices For Treatment
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should make an appointment to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you notice that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. Hearing aids prevent embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
At first your anxiety could increase a little 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 initially, be patient and try not to get discouraged. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor. There are numerous methods to treat anxiety, and your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, to benefit your individual situation.