Being in a continued state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. It warns us of peril, but for some, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies react 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 calling a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it typically 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 individuals start to feel a growing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some amount of anxiety all their lives.
Unlike some aging issues which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but failing vision typically doesn’t cause the same amount of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can happen even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. For those already faced with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
Hearing loss creates new concerns: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they start to get aggravated with me? Will people stop calling me? When day-to-day activities become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal response. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. While this may help in the short-term, over time, you will become more separated, which will lead to increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. Anxiety disorders are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. It could work the opposite way also. Some studies have shown that anxiety raises your chances of suffering from hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to needlessly deal with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
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 procrastinate and if you find that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety might increase a bit as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and adjust to wearing them. So if you struggle a little initially, 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 make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the numerous strategies to treat anxiety like increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.