Being in a persistent state of elevated alertness is how anxiety is defined. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some people get stuck in a continual state of alertness even when they’re not in any danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you may be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.
For other individuals, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some may grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while others might find that as their hearing gets worse, they start to feel heightened anxiety.
Unlike some aging challenges which appear suddenly, 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 similar to learning 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 loss can make it even worse for people who already suffer from depression or anxiety.
Hearing loss creates new concerns: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will my kids still call? When daily activities become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a common reaction. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger gatherings, you might want to think about your reasoning. If you’re honest with yourself, you might be declining invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This response will inevitably result in even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Around 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. The connection could 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 cope with both unnecessarily.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
If hearing loss is producing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t wait until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve detected a sudden change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety may increase somewhat due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and get used to using them. So if you struggle somewhat at first, be patient and try not to get frustrated. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself coping with anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. There are numerous methods to deal with anxiety, and your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes like increased exercise, to benefit your individual situation.