Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. It alerts us to danger, but for some, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential danger. You may find yourself full of feelings of dread while doing everyday tasks. Everything seems more daunting than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For other individuals, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms could become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some might grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while others might find as their hearing declines, they begin to feel heightened anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface all of a sudden, unlike other age related health challenges, it advances slowly and typically unnoticed until one day your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can happen even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for people who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss creates new concerns: Did I mishear that price? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? If I continuously ask people to repeat themselves, will they start to get aggravated with me? Will people stop calling me? When daily activities become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal response. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of straining to hear conversations. While this could help in the short-term, over time, you will grow more separated, which will lead to increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Roughly 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Hearing loss, especially when ignored, increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. The correlation could go the other way as well. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to deal with both needlessly.
What Are The Treatment Options?
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 reduce anxiety by preventing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that may add to your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. It can take weeks to determine the basics of hearing aids and get used to wearing them. So if you struggle a little initially, be patient and try not to get frustrated. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. There are many ways to deal with anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.