Anxiety is defined as a continual state of alertness. It warns us of danger, but for some, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential danger. You could find yourself filled with feelings of dread while performing everyday tasks. Everything seems more daunting than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some people begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others struggle with some degree of anxiety their whole lives.
Compared to some aging challenges which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing professional informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can trigger anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can occur even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. For those already faced with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can amplify it.
There are new concerns with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my kids still call? These concerns escalate as anxiety takes hold, which is a common reaction, especially when everyday activities become stressful. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. This response will inevitably lead to even more anxiety as you cope with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling this way. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. About 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Recent research shows hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. It may work the opposite way also. According to some research, anxiety will actually raise your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to unnecessarily cope with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
If hearing loss is producing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you find that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety might increase somewhat due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and get used to using them. So if you struggle somewhat initially, be patient and try not to get frustrated. If you’re still having issues with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to call your doctor. There are numerous methods to deal with anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, to benefit your individual situation.