Being in a constant state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. It alerts us to peril, but for some people, anxiety becomes unregulated, 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 fear while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
And anxiety, for others, can become more than an emotional issue – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some people begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some levels of anxiety all their lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t appear suddenly, unlike other age related health problems, it progresses slowly and typically unnoticed until suddenly your hearing professional informs 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 arise 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 suffer from depression or anxiety.
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 aggravated with me? Will my children still call? These worries escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when day-to-day activities become stressful. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep turning down invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. While this could help in the short-term, over time, you will grow more isolated, which will result in increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety disorders are a problem for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, particularly when neglected, increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent research. The connection may go the other way as well. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many individuals continue to deal with both needlessly.
What Are The Treatment Options?
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you observe that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could enhance your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and get used to using them. So, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them initially. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be coping with anxiety, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the many methods to treat anxiety such as more exercise or a lifestyle change.