Being in a continued state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some individuals get stuck in a constant state of alertness even when they’re not in any peril. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you may be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some people start to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others struggle with some levels of anxiety their whole lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up suddenly, unlike other age related health challenges, it progresses gradually and typically undetected until one day your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like learning you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t arise 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 people who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
Hearing loss brings new worries: How much did you say that cost? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? These fears intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when everyday experiences become stressful. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or larger gatherings, you might want to evaluate your reasoning. Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. This response will ultimately result in even more anxiety as you grapple with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. About 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. The connection could go the other way too. Some studies have shown that anxiety raises your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals continue to deal with both unnecessarily.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should come in to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve noticed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by preventing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could add to your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. Adapting to using hearing aids and learning all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get frustrated if you struggle with them initially. If you’re still having issues 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 numerous strategies to manage anxiety like increased exercise or a lifestyle change.