Being in a constant state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. It warns us of danger, but for some people, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you might be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some might grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while others may find as their hearing gets worse, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Unlike some aging challenges 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 should be a lot like learning you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many individuals. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. For those already struggling with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss brings new worries: Did I mishear that price? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? When everyday tasks become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal reaction. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. This response will ultimately lead to even more anxiety as you cope with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Roughly 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety disorder. Hearing loss, especially when ignored, raises the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent research. The connection could go the other way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
Choices For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t wait until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve observed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids reduce anxiety by reducing 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 using them. So if you struggle somewhat initially, be patient and try not to be frustrated. If you’re still having troubles with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to call your doctor. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the numerous methods to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a lifestyle change.