Anxiety is defined as a continual state of alertness. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s danger 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 might be simmering with fear while making dinner or calling a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it usually would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For other individuals, 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 people begin to feel a growing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others struggle with some amount of anxiety all their lives.
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 shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but failing vision often doesn’t cause the same amount of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never had severe anxiety this can still happen. Hearing loss can make it even worse for individuals who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
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 what they said, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will my children still call? These concerns intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, particularly when day-to-day experiences become stressful. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re truthful with yourself, you may be turning down invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of straining to hear conversations. While this might help temporarily, in the long-term, you will become more separated, which will lead to increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling this way. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. Anxiety disorders are a problem for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, especially when ignored, increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent research. It could work the opposite way too. According to some research, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to cope with both unnecessarily.
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 wait until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve noticed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
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 frustrated if you struggle with them at first. If you’re still having problems 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 recommend one or more of the numerous methods to treat anxiety like more exercise or a lifestyle change.