Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. It warns us of danger, but for some, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential threat. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you might be simmering with fear while making dinner or calling a friend. Everything seems more overwhelming than it normally 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. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some may grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while other people may find as their hearing worsens, they begin to feel increased anxiety.
Compared to some aging issues which appear suddenly, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can happen even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for people who already struggle with anxiety or depression.
There are new concerns with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they aggravated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my kids still call? When daily activities become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a common reaction. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re truthful with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. While this may help in the short-term, in the long-term, you will become more separated, which will result in increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also experiencing this. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. Anxiety disorders are an issue for 18% of the population. Recent studies show hearing loss raises the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. The correlation may go the other way also. Some research has shown that anxiety raises your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals continue to suffer from both needlessly.
What Are The Treatment Options?
If hearing loss is causing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t wait until your next check-up, especially if you’ve observed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that might add to 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 somewhat at first, be patient and try not to get discouraged. If you’re presently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the many strategies to treat anxiety such as more exercise or a change in lifestyle.