Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some people get stuck in a constant state of alertness even when they aren’t in any peril. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you may be simmering with dread while making dinner or talking to 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 dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some may suffer from these feelings all of their lives, while others might find as their hearing worsens, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t emerge all of a sudden, unlike other age related health challenges, it progresses gradually and often undetected until suddenly your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but failing vision usually doesn’t trigger the same degree of anxiety that hearing loss does. It can happen even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For those already faced with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
What Did You Say?
There are new concerns with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat themselves, will they start to get aggravated with me? Will my children still call? These worries escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, particularly when daily activities become stressful. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or larger get-togethers, you might want to assess your reasoning. Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. While this might help in the short-term, in the long-term, you will become more separated, which will result in increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. Anxiety disorders are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when neglected. The connection may go the other way too. Some studies have shown that anxiety raises your chances of suffering from hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to unnecessarily cope with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
If hearing loss is causing you anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t wait until your next check-up, especially if you’ve detected a sudden change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids reduce anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that may add to your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. Adapting to using hearing aids and finding out all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle a little initially, 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 call your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the numerous methods to manage anxiety such as more exercise or a lifestyle change.