Anxiety is defined as a continual state of alertness. It warns us of peril, but for some, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential threat. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with fear while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some individuals begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others struggle with some levels of anxiety all their lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface all of a sudden, unlike other age related health issues, it progresses gradually and often unnoticed until suddenly your hearing professional informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many people. It can occur even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. For those already dealing with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can amplify it.
What Did You Say?
There are new concerns with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they aggravated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my children still call? These fears intensify as anxiety takes hold, which is a common reaction, especially when everyday activities become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger gatherings, you might want to assess your reasoning. Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. While this may help temporarily, over time, you will grow more isolated, which will result in increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Roughly 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. It may work the opposite way too. Some research has shown that anxiety raises 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 needlessly.
Choices For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing you anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve noticed a sudden change in your hearing. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
At first your anxiety could increase somewhat due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and adjust to using them. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to be frustrated. 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 many methods to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.