Being in a continued state of elevated alertness is how anxiety is defined. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some people 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 may be simmering with fear while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.
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 people start to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others struggle with some amount of anxiety all their lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up suddenly, unlike other age related health challenges, it advances slowly and typically unnoticed until suddenly your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can trigger 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 impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already struggle with depression or anxiety.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss creates new concerns: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a normal reaction. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This response will inevitably result in even more anxiety as you grapple with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety conditions are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. The correlation may go the other way as well. Some studies have shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to unnecessarily cope with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
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. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could enhance your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. It can take weeks to determine the ins and outs 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 still having issues with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the many strategies to treat anxiety like more exercise or a lifestyle change.