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Anxiety is defined as a constant state of alertness. Heightened alertness is a good thing when there’s a threat but some people get stuck in a continuous state of alertness even when they aren’t in any peril. You might find yourself filled with feelings of dread while performing everyday tasks. Everything seems more daunting than it normally would and day-to-day life becomes an emotional struggle.

For other people, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms could become physical. Insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations are a few of the physical symptoms. Some may struggle with these feelings all of their lives, while others may find that as their hearing declines, they begin to feel increased anxiety.

Compared to some aging challenges which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until all of a sudden your hearing specialist informs you that you need a hearing aid. This should be a lot like finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can cause anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many individuals. It can occur even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For people already struggling with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.

What Did You Say?

There are new concerns with hearing loss: Did I mishear that price? What if I keep saying “huh”? Are they irritated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? These worries escalate as anxiety sets in, which is a common reaction, especially when everyday experiences become stressful. If you no longer accept invitations to dinner or bigger get-togethers, you may want to evaluate your reasoning. If you’re honest with yourself, you might be declining invites as a way to escape the anxiety of struggling to keep up with conversations. While this might help in the short-term, in the long-term, you will become more separated, which will result in additional anxiety.

Am I Alone?

You aren’t the only person feeling like this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Anxiety conditions are a problem for 18% of the population. Hearing loss, particularly when ignored, raises the chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety condition according to recent research. The connection could go the other way as well. Some research has shown that anxiety increases your chances of suffering from hearing loss. Considering how manageable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to suffer from both unnecessarily.

Choices For Treatment

If hearing loss is causing you anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t wait until your next check-up, especially if you’ve observed a sudden change in your hearing. Hearing aids prevent embarrassment in social situations by preventing miscommunication which reduces anxiety.

At first your anxiety might increase somewhat 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 discouraged if you struggle with them at first. 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. Your doctor can suggest one or more of the many strategies to treat anxiety such as more exercise or a change in lifestyle.

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