Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. It warns us of peril, but for some people, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential threat. You might 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 may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some might suffer from these feelings all of their lives, while other people might find that as their hearing worsens, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t emerge suddenly, unlike other age related health problems, it progresses slowly and typically undetected until one day your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. Even if you’ve never had severe anxiety this can still occur. For people already struggling with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can amplify it.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss brings new worries: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? When day-to-day activities become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a common response. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. While this could help in the short-term, in the long-term, you will grow more separated, which will lead to additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Anxiety conditions are an issue for 18% of the population. Recent research shows hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when neglected. The correlation could go the other way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals continue to deal with both unnecessarily.
What Are The Treatment Options?
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 detected a rapid change in your hearing. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
At first your anxiety could 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, don’t get frustrated if you struggle with them at first. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself coping with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. There are many ways to manage anxiety, and your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes like additional exercise, to benefit your individual situation.