Being in a persistent state of elevated alertness is how anxiety is defined. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get trapped in a continuous state of alertness even when they aren’t in any danger. You might find yourself filled with feelings of anxiety while performing everyday tasks. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some individuals start to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others struggle with some degree of anxiety all their lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t appear suddenly, unlike other age related health concerns, it progresses slowly and frequently unnoticed until suddenly your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to finding out you need glasses, but failing vision usually doesn’t cause the same level of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can happen even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For individuals already dealing with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
Hearing loss produces new concerns: 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 start to get aggravated with me? Will my kids still call? These fears intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when daily activities become stressful. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you may be turning down invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. This response will eventually produce even more anxiety as you grapple with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Anxiety disorders are a problem for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, especially when neglected, increases the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent research. It could work the opposite way also. According to some research, anxiety will actually raise your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to needlessly deal with both of these conditions considering how treatable 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 find that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by preventing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety may increase somewhat due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and get used to wearing them. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to get frustrated. 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 many strategies to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.