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

Being in a constant state of heightened alertness is the definition of anxiety. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some individuals get stuck in a continuous state of alertness even when they aren’t in any danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you might be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle, and everything seems more overwhelming than it should.

And anxiety, for others, can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some may suffer from these feelings their whole lives, while other people may find as their hearing declines, they start to feel increased anxiety.

In contrast to some aging issues which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to creep up on you until one day your hearing professional tells you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like learning you need glasses, but hearing loss can create 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 people already struggling with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can amplify it.

What Did You Say?

Hearing loss brings new concerns: How much did you say that cost? What if I keep saying “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat themselves, will they begin to get aggravated with me? Will people stop calling me? These worries escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a normal reaction, particularly when daily activities become stressful. Why are you declining invitations for dinner or staying away from gatherings? Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep declining invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. While this might help in the short-term, over time, you will grow more isolated, which will lead to additional anxiety.

Am I Alone?

Others are also going through this. Anxiety is becoming more and more common. About 18% of the population copes with an anxiety condition. Hearing loss, especially when ignored, increases the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to recent studies. It could work the opposite way too. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many people continue to cope with both needlessly.

Choices For Treatment

If hearing loss is producing anxiety, it’s time to get 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 minimize anxiety by preventing miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.

At first your anxiety could increase a bit due to 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, don’t get frustrated if you struggle with them at first. If you’re currently wearing hearing aids and still find yourself struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. There are numerous ways to treat anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, to improve your individual situation.

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