Being in a continual state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. Elevated alertness is a good thing when there’s danger but some individuals get stuck in a constant state of alertness even when they aren’t in any peril. You could find yourself filled with feelings of dread while doing daily tasks. Everything seems more overwhelming than it typically would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle.
For other people, anxiety can have more than an emotional impact – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some may struggle with these feelings all of their lives, while other people may find as their hearing declines, they begin to feel heightened anxiety.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface all of a sudden, unlike other age related health challenges, it progresses slowly and frequently unnoticed until suddenly your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to learning you need glasses, but failing vision usually doesn’t trigger the same amount of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. Hearing impairment can make it even worse for individuals 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? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my children still call? When daily tasks become stressful, anxiety escalates and this is a normal reaction. 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 straining to hear conversations. While this could help temporarily, in the long-term, you will grow more isolated, which will lead to additional anxiety.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. Anxiety conditions are a problem for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, particularly when ignored, increases the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent research. It may work the opposite way too. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of suffering from hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals continue to suffer from both needlessly.
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 find that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by fighting mis-communications and embarrassment in social situations.
There is a learning curve with hearing aids that could enhance your anxiety if you aren’t ready for it. Adjusting to wearing hearing aids and finding out all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So if you struggle somewhat initially, be patient and try not to be frustrated. If you’re still having problems 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 manage anxiety, and your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes like additional exercise, to improve your individual situation.