Being in a persistent state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. It warns us of danger, but for some people, anxiety becomes unregulated, 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 dread 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 may become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some may struggle with these feelings all of their lives, while other people might find that as their hearing worsens, they begin to feel heightened anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t appear all of a sudden, unlike other age related health challenges, it advances slowly and often unnoticed until suddenly your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like finding out you need glasses, but failing vision typically doesn’t cause 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 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”? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my children still call? These worries escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when everyday activities become stressful. Why are you turning down 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. While this could help temporarily, over time, you will grow more isolated, which will lead to additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling this way. Anxiety is increasingly common. Roughly 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety disorder. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when neglected. It may work the opposite way too. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to needlessly cope with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
Choices 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 procrastinate and if you find that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. Hearing aids prevent embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
At first your anxiety could increase somewhat due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. Adjusting to using hearing aids and learning all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them initially. If you’re still having problems with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to call your doctor. There are numerous ways to treat anxiety, and your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes such as additional exercise, to improve your individual situation.