Being in a persistent state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. It alerts us to danger, but for some people, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential threat. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you may be simmering with fear while making dinner or calling a friend. Everything seems more daunting than it usually would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.
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 a growing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others battle against some amount of anxiety their whole lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up all of a sudden, unlike other age related health issues, it advances slowly and often undetected until suddenly your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can trigger anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can occur even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For those already dealing with anxiety or depression, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
Hearing loss creates new worries: Did I mishear that price? How many times can I say “huh”? If I keep asking people to repeat themselves, will they start to get aggravated with me? Will my children still call? When day-to-day activities become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a common reaction. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re truthful with yourself, you might be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. While this might help temporarily, over time, you will feel more separated, which will lead to additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also going through this. It’s increasingly common for people to be dealing with anxiety. Approximately 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Recent studies show hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when left untreated. The connection could go the other way also. According to some research, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to cope with both unnecessarily.
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 wait until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve detected a sudden change in your hearing. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could add to your anxiety if you aren’t prepared for it. Adapting to using hearing aids and learning all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get frustrated if you struggle with them at first. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the numerous methods to manage anxiety like increased exercise or a lifestyle change.