Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. It warns us of danger, but for some people, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential threat. You might find yourself filled with feelings of dread while doing daily tasks. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
For others, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some people start to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others struggle with some levels of anxiety their whole lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface suddenly, unlike other age related health problems, it advances slowly and often undetected until suddenly your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but failing vision typically doesn’t cause the same level of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with 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 produces new concerns: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? Are they aggravated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my kids still call? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a common response. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re truthful with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of struggling to hear conversations. This response will inevitably produce even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling this way. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Anxiety disorders are an issue for 18% of the population. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when neglected. It may work the opposite way also. According to some studies, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to unnecessarily cope with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t wait until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve observed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could enhance your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. Adjusting to wearing 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 still having troubles with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. There are numerous methods to manage anxiety, and your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes like increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.