Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. Elevated alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some people get stuck in a continual state of alertness even when they’re not in any peril. You may find yourself filled with feelings of dread while performing everyday tasks. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.
For others, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some may struggle with these feelings all of their lives, while other people may find that as their hearing worsens, they start to feel heightened anxiety.
Unlike some aging issues 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 shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but failing vision typically doesn’t trigger the same level of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can happen even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. Hearing loss can make it even worse for people who already struggle with depression or anxiety.
Hearing loss brings new worries: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? If I keep asking people to repeat themselves, will they begin to get aggravated with me? Will my children still call? These concerns intensify as anxiety takes hold, which is a normal reaction, particularly when daily activities become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger get-togethers, you may want to think about your reasoning. If you’re honest with yourself, you might be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to hear conversations. While this could help temporarily, in the long-term, you will feel more separated, which will result in additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also going through this. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. Anxiety conditions are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. It could work the opposite way too. Some research has shown that anxiety raises your chances of suffering from hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to cope with both needlessly.
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 observed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by fighting mis-communications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety may increase a little as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. 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 at first. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the many strategies to treat anxiety like increased exercise or a lifestyle change.