Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. It alerts us to peril, but for some people, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential threat. You may find yourself filled with feelings of dread while performing everyday tasks. Everything seems more overwhelming 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 may become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are some of the physical symptoms. Some individuals start to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others battle against some degree of anxiety all their lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up suddenly, unlike other age related health concerns, it advances gradually and typically unnoticed until suddenly your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like learning you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many people. Even if you’ve never had severe anxiety this can still occur. For individuals already struggling with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
Hearing loss creates new concerns: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat what they said, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? When day-to-day activities become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a normal reaction. Why are you declining 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, over time, you will grow more separated, which will lead to increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling this way. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. About 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when left untreated. The correlation may go the other way as well. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing 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 Options?
If hearing loss is causing you anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve observed a sudden 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 might enhance your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. It can take weeks to determine the ins and outs of hearing aids and adjust to using them. So if you struggle a little at first, be patient and try not to get discouraged. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still seem to be coping with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the numerous methods to manage anxiety like more exercise or a lifestyle change.