Being in a continued state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some people get stuck in a continuous state of alertness even when they’re not in any peril. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with dread while making dinner or talking to a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
And anxiety, for others, can become more than an emotional issue – the symptoms may become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some people begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing declines while others battle against some amount of anxiety all their lives.
In contrast to some aging challenges which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like learning you need glasses, but failing vision typically doesn’t cause the same degree of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still happen. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for people who already struggle with depression or anxiety.
What Did You Say?
There are new concerns with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they begin to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? These concerns escalate as anxiety takes hold, which is a normal reaction, particularly when daily activities become stressful. 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 truthful with yourself. While this might help temporarily, over time, you will become more isolated, which will result in additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You aren’t the only person feeling this way. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. Around 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Hearing loss, especially when disregarded, increases the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. It could work the opposite way too. According to some research, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. It’s unfortunate that people continue to unnecessarily deal with both of these conditions considering how treatable they are.
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 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 might enhance your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. Adapting to wearing hearing aids and finding out 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 currently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself coping with anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the many methods to treat anxiety like more exercise or a change in lifestyle.