Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. Elevated alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some individuals get trapped in a constant state of alertness even when they aren’t in any danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
For others, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some might grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while other people may find that as their hearing gets worse, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up all of a sudden, unlike other age related health issues, it advances slowly and typically undetected until one day your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like learning you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many people. Even if you’ve never had severe anxiety this can still happen. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already suffer from depression or anxiety.
Hearing loss produces new concerns: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat themselves, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? When everyday activities become stressful, anxiety escalates 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 may be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to hear conversations. This response will inevitably result in even more anxiety as you cope with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. Anxiety disorders are an issue for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, especially when disregarded, raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. The correlation may go the other way too. According to some research, anxiety will actually increase your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to needlessly cope with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
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 observe that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. Hearing aids prevent embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that might enhance your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. Adjusting to using hearing aids and learning all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to be discouraged. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself coping with anxiety, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the many methods to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a lifestyle change.