Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. It alerts us to danger, but for some, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential threat. You might find yourself filled with feelings of anxiety while doing daily tasks. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
For other people, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some individuals begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some degree of anxiety all their lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface all of a sudden, unlike other age related health issues, it progresses slowly 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 cause the same amount 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 people who already struggle with anxiety or depression.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss produces new concerns: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my kids still call? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal reaction. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger gatherings, you may want to evaluate your reasoning. Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep turning down invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. This reaction will inevitably produce 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. Roughly 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Hearing loss, especially when ignored, increases the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. The connection may go the other way also. Some studies have shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to suffer from both needlessly.
Choices For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, especially if you’ve observed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids reduce anxiety by preventing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could add to your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. It can take weeks to learn the ins and outs of hearing aids and adjust to wearing them. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to be 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 many methods to treat anxiety, and your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.