Being in a persistent state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. It alerts us to peril, but for some, anxiety becomes unregulated, 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 dread while making dinner or calling a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For other people, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some might suffer from these feelings all of their lives, while other people might find as their hearing worsens, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
Unlike some aging issues which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but failing vision usually doesn’t cause the same level of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can occur even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. Hearing loss can make it even worse for people who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
Hearing loss creates new concerns: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my children still call? These fears intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a normal reaction, particularly when everyday experiences become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger gatherings, you may want to evaluate why. If you’re honest with yourself, you may be turning down invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This reaction will inevitably result in even more anxiety as you cope with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling this way. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety conditions are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. The correlation could go the other way also. According to some research, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to unnecessarily cope with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
Options For Treatment
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should make an appointment to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t wait until your next check-up, especially if you’ve observed a rapid change in your hearing. 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. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and get used to wearing them. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to get frustrated. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. There are numerous methods to manage anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like additional exercise, to improve your individual situation.