Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. Elevated alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get stuck in a continual state of alertness even when they’re not in any peril. You may find yourself filled with feelings of anxiety while doing daily tasks. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some individuals start to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others struggle with some levels of anxiety all their lives.
Unlike some aging challenges which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to learning 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. For those already struggling with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can amplify it.
There are new concerns with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my kids still call? These fears escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when day-to-day experiences become stressful. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or bigger gatherings, you might want to assess why. Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep turning down invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. While this could help temporarily, in the long-term, you will feel more separated, which will lead to additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also going through this. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. About 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Recent research shows hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when neglected. It may work the opposite way also. Some studies have shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals continue to cope with both needlessly.
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 procrastinate and if you find that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that might add to your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. It can take weeks to determine the ins and outs of hearing aids and get used to wearing them. So, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them at first. If you’re still having issues with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. There are many methods to deal with anxiety, and your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes such as additional exercise, to benefit your individual situation.