Even now you’re missing calls. You don’t hear the phone ringing sometimes. On other occasions, you just don’t want to go through the annoyance of having a conversation with a garbled voice you can barely comprehend.
But you’re avoiding more than just phone calls. Last week you skipped pickleball with friends. This kind of thing has been taking place more and more. Your beginning to feel a little isolated.
The root cause, obviously, is your hearing loss. Your diminishing hearing is leading to something all too common: social isolation – and you can’t determine what to do about it. Escaping isolation and getting back to being social can be difficult. But we have a few things you can try to achieve it.
Acknowledging Your Hearing Loss is Step Number One
In many cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t quite certain what the root cause is. So, noticing your hearing loss is a big first step. That may mean making an appointment with a hearing professional, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making sure you keep those hearing aids maintained.
Telling people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards acknowledgment. In a way, hearing loss is a kind of invisible ailment. There’s no particular way to “look” like you have hearing loss.
So when people look at you it’s unlikely they will notice that you have hearing loss. To your friends and co-workers, your turn towards isolation could seem to be anti-social. If you tell people that you are having a tough time hearing, your reactions will be easier to understand.
Your 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 remains consistent by getting regular hearing assessments is also significant. And it might help curb some of the first isolationist tendencies you may feel. But there are several more steps you can take to combat isolation.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
There are a lot of individuals who value the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But if others could see your hearing aid they would have a better understanding of the difficulty you are going through. Some people even personalize their hearing aids with custom artwork. By making it more obvious, you help 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 Correct Treatment
Dealing with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be a lot more difficult if you aren’t properly treating that hearing condition. Management could be very different depending on the person. But wearing or properly adjusting hearing aids is often a common factor. And even something that simple can make a substantial difference in your day-to-day life.
Be Clear About What You Need
Getting shouted at is never fun. But there are some individuals who believe that’s the preferred way to communicate with somebody who has hearing loss. So telling people how to best communicate with you is essential. Maybe instead of calling you on the phone, your friends can text you to arrange the next get together. If everybody can get on the same page, you’re not as likely to feel the need to isolate yourself.
Put People In Your Path
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 steer clear of isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, go to your local grocery store. Schedule game night with friends. Make those plans part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. There are so many simple ways to see people like taking a walk around your neighborhood. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain continue to process sound cues and identify words precisely.
Isolation Can Be Dangerous
If you’re isolating yourself because of untreated hearing loss, you’re doing more than limiting your social life. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been connected to this type of isolation.
So the best way to keep your social life humming along and keep yourself happy and healthy along the way is to be realistic about your hearing condition, be realistic about your situation, and stay in sync with family and friends.