You’re missing telephone calls now. Sometimes, it’s that you can’t hear the phone ring. Other times, you just don’t want to deal with the annoyance of having a conversation with a garbled voice you can barely comprehend.
But you’re staying away from more than simply phone calls. You missed out on last week’s softball game, too. This kind of thing has been occurring more and more. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
Your hearing loss is, obviously, the real cause. Your diminishing hearing is resulting in something far too common: social isolation – and you can’t understand what to do about it. Trading loneliness for camaraderie might take some work. But if you want to make it happen, here are a few things you can try.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
In a good number of cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t entirely sure what the root cause is. So, noticing your hearing loss is an important first step. That could mean scheduling an appointment with a hearing professional, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making sure you keep those hearing aids in working order.
Informing people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards recognition. In many ways, hearing loss is a kind of invisible condition. Someone who is hard of hearing doesn’t have a particular “look”.
So when people look at you it’s unlikely they will notice that you have hearing loss. To your people around you, your turn towards isolation could feel anti-social. If you tell people that you are having a hard time hearing, your reactions will be easier to understand.
You Shouldn’t Keep Your Hearing Loss Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and informing the people around you about it–is an important first step. Making sure your hearing stays consistent by having regular hearing checks is also significant. And it might help curb some of the initial isolationist tendencies you may feel. But you can deal with isolation with a few more steps.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
There are plenty of individuals who value the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But if people could see your hearing aid they might have a better understanding of the struggle you are living with. Some people even individualize their hearing aids with custom artwork. By making it more obvious, you invite other people to do you the courtesy of looking at you when they speak with you and making sure you understand before moving the conversation forward.
Get The Right Treatment
If you aren’t properly treating your hearing ailment it will be much harder to cope with your hearing loss or tinnitus. Management could be very different depending on the situation. But often, it means wearing hearing aids (or making sure that your hearing aids are correctly adjusted). And your daily life can be substantially impacted by something even this basic.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
Getting yelled at is never fun. But there are some individuals who believe that’s the preferred way to communicate with somebody who suffers from hearing impairment. So letting people know how to best communicate with you is important. Maybe rather than calling you via the phone, your friends can text you to arrange the next pickleball game. You won’t be as likely to isolate yourself if you can get everyone on the same page.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
It’s easy to stay away from everyone in the age of the internet. That’s the reason why purposely putting people in your path can help you avoid isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, go to your local grocery store. Meet up for a weekly game of cards. Make those activities a part of your calendar in a deliberate and scheduled way. Even something as straight forward as taking a walk through your neighborhood can be a great way to see other people. In addition to helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to discern words precisely and to keep processing sound cues.
It Can be Harmful to Become Isolated
If you’re isolating yourself because of neglected hearing loss, you’re doing more than curtailing your social life. Isolation of this sort has been connected to cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Being sensible about your hearing condition is the best way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life going in the right direction, be honest about your situation, and do whatever you can to ensure you’re showing up for those regular card games.