Being in a continual state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. Elevated alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get trapped in a continual state of alertness even when they’re not in any danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you might be simmering with fear while making dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it usually would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For others, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some people start to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some degree of anxiety their whole lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t appear all of a sudden, unlike other age related health issues, it advances slowly and frequently unnoticed until suddenly your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but failing vision typically doesn’t cause the same level of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. For people already faced with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
What Did You Say?
There are new worries with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get aggravated with me? Will my kids still call? When everyday activities become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal response. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you might be turning down invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This reaction will ultimately lead to even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling this way. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. About 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety disorder. Hearing loss, particularly when ignored, raises the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent research. It could work the opposite way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to unnecessarily deal with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
What Are The Treatment Options?
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should come in 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 reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety could increase somewhat as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to determine the basics of hearing aids and adjust to using them. So if you struggle somewhat at first, be patient and try not to be frustrated. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be coping with anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. There are numerous methods to treat anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as additional exercise, to improve your individual situation.