Being in a constant state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. Elevated alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get stuck in a continuous state of alertness even when they aren’t in any danger. You might find yourself full of feelings of dread while doing daily tasks. Everything seems more daunting than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some people start to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some degree of anxiety their whole lives.
Compared to some aging issues which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until all of a sudden your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to learning you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many people. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. For people already faced with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
What Did You Say?
Hearing loss brings new worries: Did I mishear that price? How many times can I say “huh”? If I keep asking people to repeat themselves, 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 reaction. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? 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 might help in the short-term, in the long-term, you will feel more separated, which will result in additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also going through this. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. Anxiety conditions are an issue for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, particularly when ignored, raises the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent studies. The connection could go the other way too. According to some research, anxiety will actually increase your chances of developing hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to unnecessarily deal with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
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, especially if you’ve noticed a rapid change in your hearing. Hearing aids prevent 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. Adjusting to wearing hearing aids and learning all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them at first. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the many strategies to manage anxiety such as more exercise or a lifestyle change.