Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some people get trapped in a continual state of alertness even when they’re not in any peril. You could find yourself filled with feelings of dread while doing daily tasks. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
For others, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some people begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others battle against some levels of anxiety all their lives.
Unlike some aging challenges which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until one day your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can occur even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already suffer from depression or anxiety.
Hearing loss creates new worries: How much did you say that cost? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? If I keep asking people to repeat themselves, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a normal reaction. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or bigger gatherings, you might want to think about why. If you’re honest with yourself, you might be turning down invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This reaction will ultimately produce even more anxiety as you cope with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Around 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. The correlation may go the other way also. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
Options 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 minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
At first your anxiety could increase a little due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to learn the ins and outs of hearing aids and adjust to using them. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to get discouraged. 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 recommend one or more of the many methods to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a lifestyle change.