You’re missing phone calls now. You don’t hear the phone ringing sometimes. On other occasions, you just don’t want to go through the hassle of having a conversation with a garbled voice you can barely understand.
But you’re avoiding more than just phone calls. Last week you missed pickleball with friends. More and more frequently, this sort of thing has been taking place. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
Your hearing loss is, of course, the root cause. Your diminishing hearing is leading to something all too common: social isolation – and you can’t decide what to do about it. Trading solitude for friendship may take some work. But we have a number of things you can try to do it.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
Sometimes you aren’t quite certain what the cause of your social isolation is when it first begins to happen. So, recognizing your hearing loss is a big first step. That may mean scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making sure you keep those hearing aids maintained.
Recognition might also take the form of telling people in your life about your loss of hearing. In a way, hearing loss is a kind of invisible affliction. There’s no specific way to “look” like you’re hard of hearing.
So when somebody looks at you it’s unlikely they will notice that you have hearing loss. Your friends might start to feel your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. Talking about your hearing loss can help people around you understand what you’re going through and place your reactions in a different context.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be Kept Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and informing the people around you about it–is an essential first step. Making certain your hearing stays consistent by having regular hearing checks is also essential. And curbing your first tendencies toward isolation can also be helpful. But you can combat isolation with several 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 it might be that making your hearing aid pop a little more could help you communicate your hearing loss more intentionally to others. Some individuals even go so far as to emblazon their hearing aids with custom artwork or designs. You will encourage people to be more considerate when speaking with you by making it more apparent that you are hard of hearing.
Get Professional Treatment
Coping with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be a lot harder if you aren’t properly treating that hearing ailment. Management could look very different depending on the person. But often, it means using hearing aids (or ensuring that your hearing aids are properly adjusted). And even something that simple can make a huge difference in your everyday life.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
Getting shouted at is never enjoyable. But people with hearing impairment routinely deal with individuals who think that this is the preferred way to communicate with them. So telling people how to best communicate with you is essential. Perhaps texting to make plans would be a better option than calling. You will be less likely to isolate yourself if you can get everyone on the same page.
Put People In Your Pathway
It’s easy to avoid everybody in the age of the internet. That’s the reason why purposely placing people in your path can help you avoid isolation. Shop at your local supermarket rather than ordering groceries from Amazon. Meet up for a weekly card game. Make those plans part of your calendar in a deliberate and scheduled way. Even something as straight forward as taking a walk around your neighborhood can be a great way to run into other people. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain continue to process sound cues and discern words precisely.
Solitude Can Be Harmful
Your doing more than limiting your social life by isolating yourself because of untreated hearing loss. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been connected to this type of isolation.
Being sensible about your hearing problem is the best way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life going in the right direction, acknowledge the truths, and do whatever you can to ensure you’re showing up for those weekly card games.