Being in a continual state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. It warns us of peril, but for some, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential threat. You could find yourself filled with feelings of dread 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 may grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while others might find as their hearing declines, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface suddenly, unlike other age related health concerns, it progresses gradually and often unnoticed 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 failing vision often doesn’t trigger the same degree 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 individuals who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss produces new concerns: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? These concerns escalate as anxiety takes hold, which is a common reaction, especially when everyday activities become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger get-togethers, you might want to think about why. Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep turning down invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. While this might help temporarily, in the long-term, you will feel more separated, which will lead to additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling this way. Anxiety is increasingly common. Approximately 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Hearing loss, especially when ignored, raises the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent studies. The correlation may go the other way too. Some studies have shown that anxiety raises your chances of suffering from hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to deal with both needlessly.
Choices 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 notice that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by preventing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety could increase a little as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to determine the basics of hearing aids and get used to wearing them. So if you struggle somewhat at first, be patient and try not to be frustrated. 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. There are many ways to treat anxiety, and your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes like increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.