Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. It alerts us to danger, but for some, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential threat. You may find yourself filled with feelings of dread while doing daily tasks. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional conflict, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.
And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some may suffer from these feelings their whole lives, while others may find as their hearing declines, they start to feel increased anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t show up all of a sudden, unlike other age related health issues, it progresses slowly and typically unnoticed until one day your hearing professional informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told you need glasses, but hearing loss can trigger anxiety that doesn’t occur with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can occur even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For people already faced with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
There are new concerns with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a common response. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? If you’re truthful with yourself, you may be turning down invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. While this could 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 going through this. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. Anxiety disorders are a problem for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, especially when neglected, increases the probability of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent research. It could work the opposite way also. According to some research, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to cope with both unnecessarily.
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, particularly if you’ve detected a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by reducing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety could increase somewhat as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. Adapting to using hearing aids and learning all of the settings can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle somewhat initially, be patient and try not to get discouraged. If you’re still having troubles with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. There are many ways to treat anxiety, and your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.