Being in a continual state of elevated alertness is how anxiety is defined. It alerts us to danger, but for some, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or talking to a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some people begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others battle against some levels of anxiety their whole lives.
In contrast 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 shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but failing vision often doesn’t cause the same level of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still happen. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss brings new worries: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? These fears intensify as anxiety takes hold, which is a common reaction, especially when day-to-day experiences become stressful. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re truthful with yourself, you may be turning down invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. While this may help in the short-term, over time, you will grow more separated, which will result in additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling this way. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Around 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety disorder. Hearing loss, particularly when disregarded, raises the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. The connection may go the other way as well. 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 individuals continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
Choices For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing you anxiety, it’s time to get 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 reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety may increase somewhat as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and get used to wearing them. So if you struggle somewhat initially, be patient and try not to be frustrated. If you’re still having problems with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. There are many methods to deal with anxiety, and your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes like increased exercise, to benefit your individual situation.