Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some individuals get stuck in a continual state of alertness even when they aren’t in any peril. You could find yourself full of feelings of anxiety while doing everyday tasks. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For other individuals, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some might struggle with these feelings all of their lives, while others may find as their hearing gets worse, they begin to feel heightened anxiety.
Unlike some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until one day your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can happen even if you’ve never experienced serious anxiety before. For individuals already struggling with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can amplify it.
There are new concerns with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? How many times can I say “huh”? If I keep asking people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? When day-to-day activities become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a common response. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or bigger gatherings, you may want to think about your reasoning. Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. While this could help temporarily, in the long-term, you will feel more isolated, which will lead to additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling this way. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety disorders are an issue for 18% of the population. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. It may work the opposite way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting 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 make an appointment to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you observe 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 may add to your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. It can take weeks to learn the basics of hearing aids and adjust to using them. So if you struggle a little initially, be patient and try not to get discouraged. 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 suggest one or more of the many methods to treat anxiety such as more exercise or a lifestyle change.