Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. It warns us of danger, but for some people, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with dread while making dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
And anxiety, for others, can become more than an emotional issue – the symptoms may become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some may grapple with these feelings their whole lives, while other people might find as their hearing worsens, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Unlike some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many people. It can happen even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. For people already struggling with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
Hearing loss produces new concerns: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I keep asking people to repeat themselves, will they begin to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? When everyday tasks become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a normal reaction. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you may be turning down invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. This response will ultimately result in even more anxiety as you cope with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling this way. Anxiety is increasingly common. Approximately 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety disorder. Hearing loss, particularly when neglected, raises the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent research. It could work the opposite way also. According to some research, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to needlessly cope with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
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 suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by preventing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety might increase somewhat due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. Adapting to using hearing aids and finding out all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to get frustrated. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be coping with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. There are many methods to manage anxiety, and your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes such as additional exercise, to benefit your individual situation.