Being in a continued state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. It alerts us to peril, but for some people, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential threat. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you may be simmering with fear while cooking dinner or talking to a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some may suffer from these feelings their whole lives, while other people may find that as their hearing gets worse, they begin to feel heightened anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up suddenly, unlike other age related health concerns, it advances slowly and typically undetected until suddenly your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to 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 dealt with severe anxiety this can still happen. For people already dealing with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can amplify it.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss produces new worries: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? Are they aggravated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? When day-to-day activities become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal response. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger gatherings, you might want to evaluate your reasoning. Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep turning down invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. This reaction will eventually result in even more anxiety as you cope with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Approximately 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. It may work the opposite way too. Some studies have shown that anxiety raises your chances of suffering from hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
Options For Treatment
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. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that may add to your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. Adapting to wearing 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 initially. If you’re still having issues with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to call your doctor. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the numerous methods to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a lifestyle change.