Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. Elevated alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get stuck in a continual 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 dread while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.
For other individuals, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some may grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while other people may find as their hearing gets worse, they start to feel increased anxiety.
In contrast to some aging challenges which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but failing vision usually doesn’t cause the same amount of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can occur even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for people who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
Hearing loss brings new worries: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I keep asking people to repeat themselves, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? These concerns intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, particularly when everyday experiences become stressful. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re truthful with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to hear conversations. While this might help temporarily, over time, you will grow more separated, which will result in additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Approximately 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety disorder. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. It could work the opposite way also. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
Options For Treatment
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should make an appointment to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, especially if you’ve noticed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that might add to your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. It can take weeks to determine the basics of hearing aids and adjust to wearing them. So if you struggle somewhat initially, be patient and try not to get discouraged. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be coping with anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the numerous methods to treat anxiety such as more exercise or a lifestyle change.