Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat 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 fear 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.
For other people, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some people begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others battle against some amount of anxiety all their lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t emerge suddenly, unlike other age related health challenges, it advances slowly and frequently undetected until one day your hearing specialist 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 cause the same degree of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals who already suffer from depression or anxiety.
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 keep asking people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal response. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger gatherings, you might want to assess why. If you’re truthful with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. While this might help in the short-term, over time, you will become more isolated, which will result in increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Roughly 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Hearing loss, particularly when ignored, raises the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent studies. The correlation may go the other way also. According to some studies, anxiety will actually increase your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many individuals continue to deal with both unnecessarily.
What Are The Treatment Choices?
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 abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by reducing 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 ins and outs of hearing aids and get used to wearing them. So if you struggle somewhat at first, be patient and try not to get discouraged. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the numerous strategies to manage anxiety like increased exercise or a change in lifestyle.