Being in a constant state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. Heightened 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. You may find yourself full of feelings of dread while doing everyday tasks. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
And anxiety, for others, can become more than an emotional issue – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some people begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others struggle with some degree of anxiety their whole lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface suddenly, unlike other age related health problems, it advances gradually and often unnoticed until suddenly your hearing professional informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many people. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still happen. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
What Did You Say?
There are new worries with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat themselves, will they start to get aggravated with me? Will people stop calling me? These concerns intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a normal reaction, especially when day-to-day activities become stressful. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. While this might help temporarily, over time, you will grow more separated, which will result in increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Anxiety conditions are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. It may work the opposite way too. According to some research, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should make an appointment to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, especially if you’ve observed a sudden change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids reduce anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that might enhance your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. Adapting to wearing hearing aids and learning all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle somewhat at first, be patient and try not to get frustrated. If you’re still having problems 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 many strategies to treat anxiety such as increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.