Being in a constant state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. It alerts us to danger, 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 could be simmering with fear while making dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
For other people, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some people begin to feel a growing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some amount of anxiety all their lives.
Compared to some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until one day your hearing professional informs you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to learning you need glasses, but failing vision typically doesn’t cause the same degree of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can occur even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for people who already struggle with anxiety or depression.
What Did You Say?
There are new worries with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I keep asking people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get aggravated with me? Will my children still call? These concerns intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, particularly when day-to-day experiences become stressful. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you may be turning down invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This response will inevitably produce even more anxiety as you grapple with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Roughly 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Hearing loss, particularly when ignored, increases the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. It could work the opposite way too. Some studies have shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to suffer from both needlessly.
Options 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 wait until your next check-up, especially if you’ve observed a rapid change in your hearing. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that might enhance your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. Adapting to wearing 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 be frustrated. If you’re still having troubles with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to call your doctor. There are many methods to treat anxiety, and your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes such as additional exercise, to benefit your individual situation.