Even now you’re missing calls. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. Other times coping with the garbled voice at the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But it isn’t just your phone you’re shunning. You missed out on last week’s pickleball game, too. This sort of thing has been happening more and more. You can’t help but feel somewhat… isolated.
The root cause, of course, is your hearing loss. You haven’t really figured out how to incorporate your diminishing ability to hear into your everyday life, and it’s triggering something that’s all too common: social isolation. Getting away from loneliness and back to being social can be challenging. But if you want to realize it, here are a few things you can do.
Acknowledging Your Hearing Loss is Step Number One
Often you aren’t really sure what the cause of your social isolation is when it first starts to occur. So, noticing your hearing loss is a big first step. That might mean making an appointment with a hearing specialist, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making sure you keep those hearing aids in working order.
Telling people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards acknowledgment. In many ways, hearing loss is a type of invisible affliction. There’s no particular way to “look” like you have hearing loss.
So when people look at you it’s unlikely they will observe that you have hearing loss. To your people around you, your turn towards isolation could feel anti-social. Making people aware of your hearing loss can help those around you understand what you’re dealing with and place your responses 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 sure your hearing stays consistent by getting regular hearing assessments is also significant. And it may help curb some of the initial isolationist tendencies you might feel. But you can combat isolation with several more steps.
Make it so People Can See Your Hearing Aids
There are a lot of individuals who place a premium on the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But if people could see your hearing aid they might have a better recognition of the difficulty you are living with. Some individuals even individualize their hearing aids with custom artwork. You will persuade people to be more considerate when talking with you by making it more obvious that you have hearing loss.
Get Professional Treatment
Coping with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be much more difficult if you aren’t correctly treating that hearing condition. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly from person to person. But usually, it means wearing hearing aids (or making certain that your hearing aids are properly calibrated). And even something that basic can make a huge difference in your daily life.
Be Clear About What You Need
Getting shouted at is never enjoyable. But individuals with hearing impairment regularly deal with individuals who think that this is the preferred way to communicate with them. That’s why it’s essential that you advocate for what you require from people close to you. Maybe texting to make plans would be a better option than calling. If everyone is in the loop, you’re not as likely to feel the need to isolate yourself.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
It’s easy to avoid everyone in the age of the internet. That’s why intentionally placing people in your path can help you avoid isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local supermarket. Schedule game night with friends. Social events should be arranged on your calendar. There are so many simple ways to see people such as taking a walk around your neighborhood. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain keep processing sound cues and discern words precisely.
It Can be Hazardous to Become Isolated
Your doing more than curtailing your social life by separating yourself because of untreated hearing loss. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been linked to this type of isolation.
So the best path to keep your social life humming along and keep yourself happy and healthy at the same time is to be practical about your hearing ailment, recognize the truths, and remain in sync with family and friends.