Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. Elevated alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get trapped in a continuous state of alertness even when they’re not in any danger. You might find yourself full of feelings of dread while performing daily tasks. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.
For other individuals, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some might suffer from these feelings their whole lives, while others may find that as their hearing gets worse, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
Unlike some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, 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 being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many people. It can occur even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already struggle with anxiety or depression.
Hearing loss produces new worries: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get aggravated with me? Will my kids still call? When day-to-day tasks become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a normal reaction. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you might be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to hear conversations. While this might help temporarily, over time, you will feel more isolated, which will lead to additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety disorders are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when neglected. The correlation may go the other way also. According to some research, anxiety will actually raise your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should make an appointment to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you observe that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that may enhance your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. It can take weeks to learn the ins and outs of hearing aids and get used to using them. So, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them initially. If you’re still having troubles 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 like increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.