Even now you’re missing calls. You don’t hear the phone ringing sometimes. In other cases dealing with the garbled voice on the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But it isn’t just your phone you’re staying away from. Last week you missed pickleball with friends. More and more often, this type of thing has been taking place. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
Your hearing loss is, of course, the real cause. You haven’t really figured out how to incorporate your diminishing ability to hear into your day-to-day life, and it’s triggering something that’s all too common: social isolation. Getting away from loneliness and back to being social can be complicated. But we have a number of things you can try to achieve it.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
In many cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t entirely certain what the root cause is. So, recognizing your hearing loss is a big first step. That could mean making an appointment with a hearing specialist, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making sure you keep those hearing aids in working order.
Acknowledgment could also take the form of telling people in your life about your hearing loss. Hearing loss is, in many ways, an unseen health condition. There’s no particular way to “look” like you have hearing loss.
So when somebody looks at you it’s unlikely they will detect that you have hearing loss. To your friends and co-workers, your turn towards isolation could seem to be anti-social. If you let people know that you are having a hard time hearing, your responses will be easier to understand.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be a Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and informing the people around you about it–is an essential first step. Getting scheduled hearing aid exams to make certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also important. And curbing your first tendencies toward isolation can also help. But you can combat isolation with several more steps.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
There are a lot of individuals who place a premium on the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But it could be that making your hearing aid a little more visible could help you relate your hearing loss more intentionally to others. Some individuals even personalize their hearing aids with custom designs. You will encourage people to be more courteous when talking with you by making it more apparent that you are hard of hearing.
Get Professional Treatment
Dealing with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be much more difficult if you aren’t properly treating that hearing ailment. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly from person to person. But normally, it means wearing hearing aids (or ensuring that your hearing aids are properly calibrated). And your daily life can be greatly affected by something even this basic.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
Getting shouted at is never enjoyable. But people with hearing impairment frequently deal with individuals who think that this is the preferred way to communicate with them. That’s why it’s important that you advocate for what you require from people close to you. Perhaps texting to make plans would be a better option than calling. If everybody is in the loop, you’re not as likely to feel like you need to isolate yourself.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
It’s easy to avoid everybody in the age of the internet. That’s why you can steer clear of isolation by deliberately placing yourself in situations where there will be people. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local grocery store. Set up game night with your friends. Social activities should be arranged on your calendar. Even something as basic as going for a walk around your neighborhood can be a great way to see other people. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain continue to process sound cues and identify words correctly.
Solitude Can Be Dangerous
Your doing more than limiting your social life by separating yourself because of untreated hearing impairment. Isolation of this sort has been linked to cognitive decline, depression, worry, and other mental health issues.
So the best path to keep your social life going and keep yourself happy and healthy along the way is to be practical about your hearing condition, recognize the truths, and do what you can to guarantee you’re showing up for those weekly card games.