You’re missing calls now. Often times, it’s that you don’t hear the phone ringing. 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 it isn’t just your phone you’re avoiding. Last week you missed basketball with friends. More and more frequently, this type of thing has been happening. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
The real cause, of course, is your loss of hearing. Your diminishing hearing is resulting in something all too common: social isolation – and you can’t decide what to do about it. Getting away from loneliness and back to being social can be tricky. But if you want to realize it, here are a few things you can try.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
In many cases, social isolation first occurs when you aren’t quite sure what the root cause is. So, noticing your hearing loss is a big first step. Scheduling an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids and keeping them in good working order are also strong first steps.
Telling people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards acknowledgment. Hearing loss is, in many ways, an unseen health condition. Someone who is hard of hearing doesn’t have a specific “look”.
So when people look at you it’s not likely they will notice that you have hearing loss. Your friends may begin to think your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. Making people aware of your hearing loss can help people around you understand what you’re going through and place your responses in a different context.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be Kept Secret
An essential first step is being honest with yourself and others about your hearing loss. Making certain your hearing remains consistent by having regular hearing exams is also important. And it might help curb some of the first isolationist tendencies you may feel. But you can overcome isolation with several more steps.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
There are a lot of individuals who value the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But it could be that making your hearing aid pop a little more could help you relate your hearing impairment more deliberately to others. Some individuals even go so far as to embellish their hearing aids with customized artwork or designs. You will encourage people to be more courteous when talking with you by making it more apparent that you have hearing loss.
Get The Right Treatment
Dealing with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be a lot harder if you aren’t effectively treating that hearing condition. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly depending on the situation. But normally, it means using hearing aids (or ensuring that your hearing aids are properly calibrated). And your day-to-day life can be substantially affected by something even this basic.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
Getting yelled at is never enjoyable. But individuals with hearing impairment frequently deal with individuals who feel that this is the best way to communicate with them. So telling people how to best communicate with you is essential. Perhaps instead of calling you via the phone, your friends can text you to plan the next pickleball game. If everybody can get on the same page, you’re not as likely to feel like you need to isolate yourself.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
In this age of internet-driven food delivery, it’s easy enough to avoid all people for all time. That’s why purposely putting people in your path can help you avoid isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local grocery store. Gather for a weekly card game. Social activities should be scheduled on your calendar. There are so many straight forward ways to run into people such as walking around your neighborhood. In addition to helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to identify words correctly and to keep processing sound cues.
Isolation Can Be Hazardous
Your doing more than limiting 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.
Being realistic about your hearing problem is the best way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life on track, be realistic about your situation, and do whatever you can to guarantee you’re showing up for those weekly card games.