Did you often feel neglected because you were unable to participate in group discussions? Are you often being mocked at because you fail to respond at the right time or maybe because you said something which is already being told in the conversation? Did you feel that people are misunderstanding you because you are not able to understand what they are trying to convey and hence responding inappropriately? And after facing all these issues, did you feel that you should avoid all these situations and hence you start avoiding social gatherings? All these might be the red flags that you are having hearing loss! So the first and foremost step would be to go for a hearing loss treatment.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s natural ability to deal with stressful situations. It arises out of fear or apprehension about what’s about to come and what would be its consequences. For example, your first day of school, your day of an interview or your first day at a new workplace or while delivering a speech to a large audience - all these events evoke a sense of fear or nervousness. It is quite normal and natural.
The problem, however, arises when this restlessness and nervousness are extreme and last longer for about six months or more and as a result, it is interfering with your day-to-day life. If you can relate this condition with yourself, then there is a high probability that you are suffering from anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders often kill your enthusiasm in doing things you love and enjoy. In extreme cases, anxiety might get worse and can show up in dangerous ways and stop you from doing certain simple things, like entering into an elevator, crossing the streets or even stepping out of your house! If left untreated, then anxiety will keep getting worse which might lead to depression.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
Although symptoms vary from person to person and depend a lot on the underlying causes and the type of anxiety disorder, yet there are some common signs which are found in almost all people suffering from some kind of anxiety. These include -
Increased heart rate
Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
Restlessness or nervousness
Trembling or muscle twitching
Weakness and lethargy
A strong desire to avoid things which trigger anxiety
Digestive or gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, constipation, or diarrhoea
Difficulties in concentrating
Sleeping disturbances or insomnia
Performing certain actions or behaviours repeatedly over and over again
Anxiety and Depression
Studies have shown a significant relationship between anxiety and depression, although they might occur separately. Since hearing loss leads to social isolation, withdrawal from personal relationships and the person might even develop a lowered self-esteem, it leads to frustration, embarrassment, irritability, fatigue, stress, tension, restlessness, anxiety and hence depression. If hearing loss is left untreated for a long time, it would further lead to a diminished psychological and overall physical health - including symptoms of Dementia like an impaired memory and even forgetfulness.
How is Hearing Loss Related to Anxiety?
Due to our modern lifestyle centred around the harmful gadgets, especially the ones that we keep plugged inside our ears for long hours, there are so many who are having hearing loss problems these days. While some types of hearing problems like the conductive ones are temporary and get cured soon, the sudden sensorineural ones are permanent and have a lifetime impact on the person’s life. Needless to say how stressful it is for the person who would have to live with a hearing loss for a lifetime.
With such a high number of people suffering from serious hearing problems and who would get only partial recovery or even no recovery at all, it is really a tough situation for them whose impacts are life-changing, and in many cases are quite dramatic and dangerous.
In cases of conductive hearing loss which is temporary in nature, an individual’s chances of developing anxiety are very less as he or she gets cured of the problem soon. But if a person has permanent hearing loss, then it becomes hard for him or her to accept this permanent damage. This gradually develops within the person a sense of fear and restlessness as to what might be the outcomes and where his or her life would stand.
For instance, before attending any meeting, event or a social gathering, the concerned person would fear whether everything would go the right way and that nobody would misunderstand him or her. But unfortunately, when things don’t go the way they want, they start withdrawing themselves from all such events which trigger anxiety in them and gradually starts disappearing from the whole scenario.
This leaves no other option for these individuals than to box themselves up in the four walls!
Ignoring your hearing problems, therefore, won’t help anymore and the more you delay in opting for good hearing loss treatment, the more will be the chances of you acquiring depression and other such emotional and psychological complications. The underlying cause is your brain needs constant sound stimulus to stay active and in working condition. If it stops receiving this ‘food’, it will stop giving you anything in return. Your brain will gradually start forgetting the sounds and hence would fail to perceive them gradually. This condition is known as Auditory Deprivation and if this continues, this would gradually increase the risks of Dementia and other psychological disorders - thus leading to anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances and forgetfulness.
Who are Affected?
Adults, mostly are the victims of anxiety and depression related to hearing loss. However, children too are affected and although the intensity is not much in children, they too might suffer from restlessness, anxiety and hyperactivity. It is because hearing loss in children can show up problems in so many fields - namely, speech and language developmental skills, academics, personal growth, building up of self-confidence and self-dependence. However, anxiety disorders in children can also develop due to various other reasons apart from hearing loss, such as autism and cognitive delays.
Also, studies revealed that women are prone to developing various anxiety disorders more than men.
So What Can Be Done?
The first and foremost step towards leading a better life is to ACT NOW! It’s high time that you must join a good hearing loss treatment programme and do as advised by your Audiologist. Don’t hesitate! Go for a good hearing aid and don’t compromise with your health. The sooner you act, the better are the outcomes, and the greater the chances will be for your expectations be met.
There are so many professional Audiologists willing to help you out in every possible way! You just need to GET UP AND GO! It is really the time that you must realise that it is very IMPORTANT to go for the best methods of hearing loss treatment.
Also, if you have permanent hearing loss then you must realise and accept the fact that it is really PERMANENT! And that no hearing loss treatment can restore your normal hearing. Hearing aids can only help you to hear better and lead a better quality of life. But it is a very bad idea to sit back thinking that your hearing problems will be cured by themselves and would go away with time. NO, THEY WON’T! Situations will only worsen - making your life all the more problematic and complicated!
Since sudden sensorineural hearing loss is associated with other consequences like emotional disbalances and social problems, those areas need to be dealt with as well. A good Audiologist, therefore, should not only focus on a good hearing loss treatment procedure for the person with permanent hearing loss but should also take care of the individual as a whole, and hence must take care of other aspects associated with hearing loss as well.
Psychotherapy or counselling, hearing loss treatment and lifestyle changes can deal with issues like anxiety, restlessness and depression. You just need to take the move and avail these options.