Being in a continued state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. It warns us of 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 might be simmering with fear while making dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For other people, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some may suffer from these feelings their whole lives, while other people might find as their hearing declines, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
In contrast to some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until one day your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many individuals. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still happen. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already suffer from anxiety or depression.
There are new concerns with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? If I keep asking people to repeat themselves, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? These fears escalate as anxiety takes hold, which is a normal reaction, particularly when everyday experiences become stressful. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep turning down invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. This reaction will eventually lead to even more anxiety as you grapple with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also going through this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety disorders are an issue for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, especially when ignored, increases the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent studies. It may work the opposite way too. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of suffering from hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to unnecessarily deal with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
Options For Treatment
If hearing loss is producing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you find that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could add to your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. Adjusting to wearing hearing aids and finding out all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them at first. If you’re still having troubles 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 numerous strategies to manage anxiety such as more exercise or a lifestyle change.