Being in a constant state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some people get trapped in a continuous state of alertness even when they aren’t in any peril. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.
For others, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some may suffer from these feelings their whole lives, while other people may find as their hearing declines, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t emerge suddenly, unlike other age related health issues, it progresses slowly and often unnoticed until one day your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to 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 suffered from serious anxiety before. For those already faced with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
What Did You Say?
There are new worries with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? These fears escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a normal reaction, particularly when everyday experiences become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or bigger get-togethers, you might want to assess your reasoning. If you’re honest with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to avoid 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 increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is increasingly common. About 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Hearing loss, particularly when disregarded, raises the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent research. It may work the opposite way also. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many individuals continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
Options For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you observe that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by preventing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety might increase somewhat as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to determine the ins and outs of hearing aids and get used to using them. So if you struggle a little initially, be patient and try not to be frustrated. If you’re still having issues 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 suggest one or more of the many methods to manage anxiety like increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.