Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get stuck in a continuous state of alertness even when they aren’t in any peril. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you might be simmering with fear while making dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For others, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms could become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some might struggle with these feelings all of their lives, while other people might find that as their hearing worsens, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Compared to some aging issues which come out of nowhere, 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 shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but failing vision often doesn’t trigger the same degree of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can happen even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For people already struggling with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
There are new concerns 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 worries intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when everyday experiences become stressful. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or bigger gatherings, you may want to assess why. Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. This reaction will eventually result in even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling this way. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. Around 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. The correlation may go the other way also. According to some research, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
Choices For Treatment
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should come in to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you find that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids reduce anxiety by fighting mis-communications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety could increase somewhat due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. Adjusting to using hearing aids and finding out all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle somewhat at first, be patient and try not to be discouraged. 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 recommend one or more of the numerous strategies to manage anxiety such as more exercise or a change in lifestyle.