Being in a continual state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. Enhanced alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some people get stuck in a constant state of alertness even when they’re not in any peril. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or calling a friend. 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 could become physical. Dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some people begin to feel an increasing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others struggle with some degree of anxiety their whole lives.
Hearing loss doesn’t surface suddenly, unlike other age related health concerns, it advances gradually and often undetected until one day your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be similar to learning you need glasses, but failing vision usually doesn’t cause the same degree of anxiety that hearing loss does. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still occur. For people already faced with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
What Did You Say?
There are new worries with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my children still call? When day-to-day tasks become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a common response. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? Your struggle to hear and understand conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being truthful with yourself. This response will inevitably produce even more anxiety as you grapple with the consequences of self isolation.
Am I Alone?
You’re not the only person feeling like this. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. Approximately 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety condition. Hearing loss, particularly when disregarded, increases the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent studies. The connection may go the other way too. According to some studies, anxiety will actually increase your chances of getting hearing loss. It’s regrettable that people continue to needlessly cope with both of these conditions considering how manageable they are.
Options For Treatment
If your anxiety is a result of hearing loss you should make an appointment to be fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, particularly if you’ve noticed a sudden change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids reduce anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
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 basics of hearing aids and adjust to using them. So if you struggle a little initially, be patient and try not to be frustrated. If you’re still having issues 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 methods to deal with anxiety, and your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes like increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.