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 constant state of alertness even when they’re not 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. Everything seems more overwhelming than it usually would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For others, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some might suffer from these feelings all of their lives, while others may find that as their hearing worsens, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Compared to some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until one day your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can trigger anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. Even if you’ve never had severe anxiety this can still occur. Hearing loss can make it even worse for people who already suffer from depression or anxiety.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss brings new concerns: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal response. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep turning down invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. This response will ultimately result in even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also going through this. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. Roughly 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 too. According to some research, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
What Are The Treatment Options?
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should come in to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you notice that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that might add to your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. Adapting to using hearing aids and finding out all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get frustrated if you struggle with them at first. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. There are many ways to treat anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as additional exercise, to improve your individual situation.