Being in a continual state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. It warns us of danger, 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 could be simmering with dread while making dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
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 may struggle with these feelings their whole lives, while others may find as their hearing declines, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Compared to some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until all of a sudden 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 trigger anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many people. It can happen even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. Hearing loss can make it even worse for individuals who already suffer from depression or anxiety.
Hearing loss produces new concerns: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my kids still call? When everyday activities become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a common reaction. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or bigger get-togethers, you might want to evaluate your reasoning. If you’re truthful with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of struggling to hear conversations. This reaction will eventually lead to even more anxiety as you cope 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. Around 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Hearing loss, especially when neglected, increases the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent research. The correlation could go the other way too. Some research has shown that anxiety raises your chances of suffering from hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to needlessly cope with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
Options For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve detected a sudden change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids reduce anxiety by preventing mis-communications 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. Adapting to using hearing aids and learning all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle a little initially, be patient and try not to be discouraged. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. There are many ways to treat anxiety, and your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes such as additional exercise, to improve your individual situation.