Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get trapped in a constant state of alertness even when they’re not in any peril. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with fear while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
For other people, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some may suffer from these feelings their whole lives, while other people might find that as their hearing gets worse, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
In contrast to some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like finding out you need glasses, but failing vision often doesn’t trigger the same degree of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can happen even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For people already faced with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can amplify it.
What Did You Say?
There are new worries with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? If I continuously ask people to repeat themselves, will they begin to get aggravated with me? Will people stop calling me? These worries escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, particularly when everyday activities become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or bigger gatherings, you might want to think about why. Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. While this could help in the short-term, in the long-term, you will become more separated, which will result in additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Roughly 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Hearing loss, especially when ignored, increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. It may work the opposite way also. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to deal with both unnecessarily.
Options For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing you anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve noticed a sudden change in your hearing. Hearing aids prevent embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could enhance your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. Adjusting to using hearing aids and learning all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get frustrated if you struggle with them initially. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the many strategies to treat anxiety like increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.