by Linda Bilodeau
Growing up in Vermont, I always looked forward to the calendar pages turning to fall, my favorite time of year. In October, lively green leaves would turn crimson and gold, signaling a call to action before the coming winter. There was much to do before the first snows fell: bring in the remains of the summer garden, clean and put away summer furniture, and rake leaves. There were fun times too, like backyard football games and the gathering of friends and family under a still warm fall sun.
Each new season brings on challenges for those of us with hearing loss. First and foremost, we have to remember to take care of ourselves. New routines, moving most of our activities inside, getting children ready for school, and preparing for holidays can bring on stress.
Those of us suffering from hearing loss realize that it takes a great deal of concentration in order to hear. The relationship between stress, anxiety, and hearing loss has been well demonstrated. If you don’t hear well, if you don’t have the proper hearing devices, then you will struggle to hear. That struggle can lead to stress and anxiety.
Anxiety can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, including panic attacks. From time to time, anxiety has crept into my life, and it has taken me some time to understand how to deal with symptoms.
I strive to be cognizant of how I am feeling. Like most people, I tend to take on too much. When seasons change and holidays approach, I sometimes find my social calendar overflowing. A lengthy to-do list coupled with numerous social activities can leave one exhausted and anxious. I’ve learned to pace myself.
I’ve had many conversations about hearing loss and anxiety with my audiologist. He tells me that most of his patients experience anxiety. He feels that the best defense is to have proper hearing devices. He suggests regular hearing evaluations. Ask yourself a few questions. When was your last hearing evaluation and test? When did you last purchase new hearing aids? Is it time to consider peripheral devices such as a TV adapter or mini mic, Cochlear Implant or bone implant?
Use this change of the season to rethink how you hear. Do everything you can to keep your hearing lives stress and anxiety free. Equip yourself with the best hearing and peripheral devices that you can afford. No matter the time of year, always remember that the best way to meander through the hearing world is stress free and with the best possible hearing.