Being in a constant state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. It alerts us to danger, but for some people, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with dread while making dinner or calling a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
For other people, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some may struggle with these feelings their whole lives, while others might find as their hearing worsens, they start to feel heightened anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface all of a sudden, unlike other age related health problems, it progresses gradually and typically unnoticed until one day your hearing professional 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. It can occur even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For those already struggling with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can amplify it.
Hearing loss creates new concerns: 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 my children still call? When everyday activities become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a common reaction. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? Your struggle to hear and understand 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 have anxiety. Approximately 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Recent research shows hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when left untreated. The correlation could go the other way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to deal with both needlessly.
Choices 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 find that your hearing has abruptly 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 may enhance your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. Adjusting to wearing hearing aids and learning all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle a little initially, 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 contact your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the many strategies to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.