Being in a constant state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. Elevated alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some individuals get trapped in a continual state of alertness even when they’re not in any peril. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you might be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For other individuals, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some individuals begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others struggle with some levels of anxiety their whole lives.
Unlike some aging challenges which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. For individuals already struggling with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can amplify it.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss brings new worries: How much did you say that cost? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? These concerns escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a normal reaction, especially when daily experiences become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or bigger get-togethers, you might want to assess why. If you’re honest with yourself, you might be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. This reaction will eventually produce even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also going through this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Roughly 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. The correlation may go the other way also. Some studies have shown that anxiety increases your chances of suffering from hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to cope with both needlessly.
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 find 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 might increase a little due to 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, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them at first. If you’re still having problems with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to call your doctor. There are many methods to deal with anxiety, and your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes like additional exercise, to benefit your individual situation.