Being in a constant state of elevated alertness is the definition of anxiety. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get stuck in a continuous state of alertness even when they’re not in any peril. You might find yourself filled with feelings of dread while performing daily tasks. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
For other people, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some might grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while other people may find as their hearing declines, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up all of a sudden, unlike other age related health issues, it advances slowly and frequently undetected until one day your hearing professional informs you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to learning you need glasses, but failing vision often doesn’t cause the same level of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never had severe anxiety this can still happen. For people already struggling with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can amplify it.
What Did You Say?
There are new worries with hearing loss: 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 my children still call? These fears escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, particularly when day-to-day experiences become stressful. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to hear conversations. This reaction will inevitably lead to even more anxiety as you cope with the repercussions of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling this way. Anxiety is increasingly common. Around 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Hearing loss, particularly when neglected, increases the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent research. The correlation could go the other way too. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.
Options For Treatment
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve detected a rapid change in your hearing. 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 prepared for it. It can take weeks to learn the ins and outs of hearing aids and get used to wearing them. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to get discouraged. 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. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the numerous strategies to manage anxiety such as increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.