Being in a constant state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. It alerts us to danger, but for some, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential threat. You may find yourself full of feelings of dread while performing daily tasks. Everything seems more overwhelming than it usually would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For others, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, 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 levels of anxiety their whole lives.
Compared to some aging challenges which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like learning you need glasses, but failing vision usually doesn’t cause the same amount of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. For people already dealing with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss creates new concerns: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get annoyed with me? Will my children still call? These fears escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, particularly when day-to-day activities become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or bigger gatherings, you may want to think about your reasoning. If you’re truthful with yourself, you may be turning down invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. This response will eventually result in even more anxiety as you cope with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Around 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. It could work the opposite way too. Some research has shown that anxiety raises your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to suffer from 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 wait until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve observed a rapid change in your hearing. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
At first your anxiety may increase a little due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. Adapting to using hearing aids and learning all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to get discouraged. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. There are numerous methods to manage anxiety, and your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes like increased exercise, to benefit your individual situation.