Being in a persistent state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get trapped in a continual state of alertness even when they’re not in any danger. You could find yourself filled with feelings of dread while doing daily tasks. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
For other people, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some may struggle with these feelings their whole lives, while others might find that as their hearing gets worse, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up suddenly, unlike other age related health problems, it advances slowly and typically unnoticed until suddenly your hearing professional informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but failing vision often doesn’t cause the same level of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. For people already faced with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can amplify it.
Hearing loss produces new worries: 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 people stop calling me? These worries intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when day-to-day experiences become stressful. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or larger gatherings, you may want to think about your reasoning. If you’re honest with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of straining to hear conversations. While this could help temporarily, over time, you will become more separated, which will result in increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety disorders are a problem for 18% of the population. Recent research shows hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. It may work the opposite way also. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of suffering from hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to unnecessarily deal with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
Choices For Treatment
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 prevent embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
At first your anxiety might increase a little as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to determine the ins and outs of hearing aids and adjust to wearing them. So if you struggle somewhat at first, be patient and try not to get frustrated. 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. There are numerous methods to treat anxiety, and your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.