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

Being in a persistent state of elevated alertness is how anxiety is defined. It warns us of danger, but for some people, anxiety becomes unregulated, and their bodies respond as if everything is a potential danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with fear 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 become more than an emotional issue – the symptoms could become physical. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Some might struggle with these feelings all of their lives, while others might find as their hearing gets worse, they start to feel increased anxiety.

Hearing loss doesn’t show up all of a sudden, unlike other age related health issues, it progresses gradually and typically unnoticed until suddenly your hearing professional informs 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 occur with deteriorating vision for many individuals. Even if you’ve never dealt with severe anxiety this can still happen. Hearing loss can make it even worse for people who already struggle with anxiety or depression.

What Did You Say?

There are new worries with hearing loss: How much did you say that cost? How many times can I say “huh”? If I continuously ask people to repeat themselves, will they start to get annoyed with me? Will people stop calling me? These fears intensify as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when daily activities become stressful. Why are you turning down invitations for dinner or steering clear of gatherings? Your struggle to keep up with conversations could be the reason why you keep turning down invitations if you’re being honest with yourself. While this could help temporarily, 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 this way. It’s increasingly common for people to have anxiety. Around 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Recent research shows hearing loss increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with anxiety, especially when left untreated. The correlation may go the other way as well. Some research has shown that anxiety raises your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s a shame so many individuals continue to deal with both unnecessarily.

Choices For Treatment

If hearing loss is causing you anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t procrastinate and if you observe that your hearing has suddenly changed, come in as soon as you can. Hearing aids minimize embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.

At first your anxiety could increase somewhat as a result of the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. It can take weeks to determine the ins and outs of hearing aids and get used to using them. So if you struggle somewhat initially, be patient and try not to get frustrated. If you’re still having problems with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to call your doctor. There are numerous methods to manage anxiety, and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, to benefit your individual situation.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC