Being in a continual state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. 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 may be simmering with dread while making dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For others, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some might suffer from these feelings their whole lives, while other people might find as their hearing declines, they start to feel heightened anxiety.
Compared to some aging challenges which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until one day your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still happen. For people already struggling with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can amplify it.
Hearing loss produces new worries: How much did you say that cost? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? Are they aggravated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my children still call? When everyday activities become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a common response. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you might be declining invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This reaction will eventually result in even more anxiety as you cope with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Roughly 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Hearing loss, especially when ignored, raises the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent research. The connection could go the other way as well. Some research has shown that anxiety raises your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to needlessly cope with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
Options For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t wait until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve observed a sudden change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety may increase a little due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to determine the ins and outs of hearing aids and adjust to using them. So, don’t get frustrated if you struggle with them initially. 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. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the numerous methods to manage anxiety such as more exercise or a lifestyle change.