Man feeling anxious because he can’t hear the conversation.

Being in a constant state of heightened alertness is how anxiety is defined. It warns us of danger, but for some, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential threat. You may find yourself full of feelings of dread while doing daily tasks. Everything seems more daunting than it usually would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.

And anxiety, for others, can become more than an emotional issue – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some might grapple with these feelings all of their lives, while others may find as their hearing declines, they start to feel heightened anxiety.

Hearing loss doesn’t emerge all of a sudden, unlike other age related health issues, it progresses gradually and often unnoticed until suddenly your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from being told 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. For those already dealing with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.

What’s That?

There are new concerns with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? Are they annoyed at me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will my kids still call? These concerns escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a normal reaction, especially when day-to-day activities become stressful. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? If you’re honest with yourself, you may be declining invites as a way to avoid the anxiety of straining to keep up with conversations. While this may help in the short-term, in the long-term, you will grow more separated, which will result in increased anxiety.

Am I Alone?

You’re not the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. About 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety disorder. Recent research shows hearing loss increases the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when neglected. The connection may go the other way as well. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of getting hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to deal with both unnecessarily.

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 procrastinate and if you notice that your hearing has abruptly changed, come in as soon as you can. For many, hearing aids decrease anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.

At first your anxiety might increase a little as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. Adapting to using hearing aids and learning all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them initially. 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 numerous methods to manage anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.

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