Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. It alerts us to danger, but for some people, 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 might be simmering with fear while making dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.
For other individuals, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some may grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while other people might find that as their hearing declines, they begin to feel heightened anxiety.
Compared to some aging issues which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until one day your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to finding out you need glasses, but failing vision usually 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 struggling with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss brings new worries: 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 concerns intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a normal reaction, especially when everyday 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 turning down invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. This response will ultimately result in 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 have anxiety. Anxiety conditions are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. The connection may go the other way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually increase your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to needlessly deal with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
If hearing loss is producing anxiety, it’s time to get 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 could add to your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and get used to wearing them. So, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them initially. 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. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the many methods to manage anxiety like increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.