Being in a continued state of elevated alertness is how anxiety is defined. It alerts us to peril, but for some people, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential threat. 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 overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
For other people, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some individuals begin to feel a growing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others struggle with some amount of anxiety their whole lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface all of a sudden, unlike other age related health challenges, it advances gradually and often undetected until one day your hearing professional informs you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many people. It can occur even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. Hearing loss can make it even worse for individuals who already struggle with anxiety or depression.
Hearing loss creates 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 people stop calling me? These fears intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when daily experiences become stressful. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or larger get-togethers, you might want to assess your reasoning. 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 reaction will inevitably lead to even more anxiety as you grapple with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety conditions are a problem for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, particularly when ignored, increases the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. It may work the opposite way also. Some studies have shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals 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 procrastinate and if you observe that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. Hearing aids prevent embarrassment in social situations by preventing mis-communication which reduces anxiety.
At first your anxiety may 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, don’t get frustrated if you struggle with them initially. 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 treat anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like additional exercise, to benefit your individual situation.