Do you find that you’re scared to go out in public due to your anxiety and hearing loss? Do you get nervous during conversations – and hesitate to participate – because you can’t hear well? A hearing aid may be the solution, but it’s not the only one.
Unfortunately, anxiety is a known side effect for those experiencing hearing loss, and it’s entirely understandable. Hearing is a sense you have spent much of your life relying on, and when your hearing begins to fail, it can be a frightening and confusing experience.
If you’ve just realized your hearing loss is causing or amplifying your anxiety, we’ve outlined steps below, including wearing a hearing aid, that can help to ease your anxiety symptoms and improve your quality of life.
1. Admit You Have a Hearing Problem
Oftentimes, people are reluctant to admit to others that they are having a hearing problem. Instead, they withdraw from situations that highlight their hearing loss.
This often means less communication with friends and family, fewer social gatherings and outings, and an overall isolated lifestyle, which often leads to further anxiety and depression. The first step in finding a solution to a problem is acknowledging that a problem exists, and that includes alerting the people in your life.
Communication is a two-way street. Your loved ones can help conversations go more smoothly if they know you are having difficulty hearing. Don’t suffer in silence or try to stumble through conversations! Trying to keep up a façade will only make you more anxious.
2. Seek Help for Your Hearing
It is always best to see a doctor or audiologist, if possible, to evaluate your hearing. If seeing a doctor isn’t possible in regards to your hearing health, use an Online Hearing Check to evaluate the severity of your hearing loss.
A hearing check or exam, while not necessary to purchase a hearing aid, is highly recommended. Hearing aids are available for a wide range of hearing losses, and you will need to know how severe your hearing loss is and what type of hearing loss you are experiencing in order to choose an appropriate hearing aid.
As stated above, however, you can use an online hearing check to get an idea of your hearing loss range for the purpose of buying a hearing aid. If you already have a hearing aid and it’s not working for you, you may just have the wrong hearing aid for your specific hearing loss.
3. Get Hearing Aids
At Advanced Affordable Hearing, we have affordable hearing aids for every budget, and our hearing aids are more convenient and simpler to use than ever. Don’t hesitate to pick up a pair. A hearing aid can help you hear clearly again, which will dispel anxiety during conversations and in public situations!
Hearing aids are available for a variety of lifestyles. You can get rechargeable hearing aids, like the HearClear HCR3 or the HearClear HCRD, that are incredibly easy to use and don’t require batteries, or for more tech-oriented types, there’s the HearClear HCEQ, an advanced hearing aid that connects right to your smartphone!
Remember, though, to pay attention to the range of hearing loss the hearing aid is suited for before purchasing.
4. Wear Your Hearing Aids Regularly
If you’ve never worn hearing aids before, it may take you some time to adjust. Don’t give up on your hearing aids right away, though. Hearing loss usually develops slowly, so your brain and body have become accustomed to NOT hearing. You'll need to wear the hearing aids regularly for at least a month or so to give your brain a chance to get used to hearing again.
If wearing the hearing aids aggravates your anxiety – some noises may seem overly loud at first – wear them in short sessions throughout the day, taking breaks when and where you can to remove them and relax.
Once your brain adjusts, you’ll hear better during conversations and in noisy areas, which can be a big help in easing anxiety!
Hearing-aid wearers often report being more sociable than those with hearing loss who don’t wear hearing aids, and their personal experiences are backed up by scientific studies.
5. Plan Ahead
If traveling, shopping, or conversing make you anxious due to your hearing loss, planning ahead can help lessen that anxiety. Knowing in advance how to navigate certain situations with hearing loss can make those situations less daunting.
Did you know the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public places, such as zoos, movie theaters, retail stores, recreation facilities, etc., to provide accommodations for those with a hearing impairment?
The accommodations they provide will vary. Most often, you will be provided with a closed-captioning device or listening device. Check with customer service or management at venues and stores to find out how they can help you. Knowing that help is available can help hearing loss sufferers relax and enjoy a day out.
6. Make Safety Arrangements
In addition to providing accommodations in public places, like theaters, the ADA also requires hotels and transportation companies to provide appropriate safety measures for the hearing impaired. If you’re traveling, keep in mind that you can book an ADA-compliant hotel room.
ADA-compliant rooms are usually outfitted with visual fire alarms and closed-captioned electronic devices (with closed-captioning already set up for you).
If you are concerned about not hearing the fire alarm or burglar alarm in your own home, consider installing visual alarms and other safety measures for peace of mind.
If you babysit regularly or have children, you can also purchase child monitors that alert you via lights or vibration if the child is crying or making noise.
7. Practice Self-Care
Hearing loss affects lives in ways most people don’t consider. Sadly, hearing loss has been known to lead to depression, and hearing problems often have an impact on relationships.
Pay attention to your needs and your mental health as you navigate hearing loss. If you are having intense anxiety, seek out therapy or discuss the issue with your doctor.
A doctor or therapist may recommend treatment programs or medicines to help your generalized anxiety in addition to the steps you are taking with your hearing loss.
The most important thing to remember is that help is available, and you should take advantage of it! Hearing aids have never been more advanced, affordable and accessible.
If you believe a hearing aid would help you, but you’re not sure which one is right for your lifestyle, please just give Advanced Affordable Hearing a call at 1 (800) 804-0434 and one of our hearing aid professionals will be happy to help.