Even now you’re missing calls. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. On other occasions, you simply 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 shunning. Last week you missed pickleball with friends. More and more often, this kind of thing has been happening. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
The real cause, obviously, is your loss of hearing. Your diminishing ability to hear is resulting in something all too common: social isolation – and you can’t decide what to do about it. Escaping isolation and getting back to being social can be challenging. But if you want to do it, here are some things you can do.
Acknowledging Your Hearing Loss is The First Step
Often 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 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 recognition. Hearing loss is, in many ways, an invisible health condition. There’s no particular way to “look” like you’re hard of hearing.
So it’s not something anybody will likely recognize just by looking at you. To your people around you, your turn towards isolation could seem to be anti-social. Talking about your hearing loss can help those around you understand what you’re going through and place your responses in a different context.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be a Secret
An important first step is being honest with yourself and others about your hearing loss. Making certain your hearing remains consistent by having regular hearing checks is also important. And it might help curb some of the initial isolationist tendencies you may feel. But you can combat isolation with several more steps.
Make it so Others Can See Your Hearing Aids
Most people think that a smaller more invisible hearing aid is a more ideal choice. But if others could see your hearing aid they might have a better understanding of the struggle you are living with. Some individuals even customize their hearing aids with custom designs. You will persuade people to be more courteous when conversing with you by making it more obvious that you have hearing loss.
Get Professional Treatment
If you’re not effectively treating your hearing condition it will be much harder to cope with your hearing loss or tinnitus. What “treatment” looks like could fluctuate wildly from person to person. But often, it means wearing hearing aids (or making sure that your hearing aids are properly adjusted). And even something that simple can make a significant difference in your everyday life.
Be Clear About What You Need
Getting shouted at is never enjoyable. But individuals with hearing loss frequently deal with people who think that this is the preferred way to communicate with them. That’s why it’s important that you advocate for what you need from those around you. Perhaps rather than calling you via the phone, your friends can text you to plan the next get together. You won’t be as likely to isolate yourself if you can get everyone on the same page.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
In this time of internet-driven food delivery, it would be easy to avoid everybody for good. That’s the reason why you can avoid isolation by purposely putting yourself in situations where there will be people. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local supermarket. Set up game night with your friends. Social activities should be scheduled on your calendar. There are so many simple ways to see people such as walking around your neighborhood. In addition to helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to identify words precisely and continue to process sound cues.
It Can be Hazardous to Become Isolated
Your doing more than limiting your social life by separating yourself because of neglected hearing impairment. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental concerns have been connected to this kind of isolation.
So the best way to keep your social life humming along and keep yourself happy and healthy at the same time is to be realistic about your hearing condition, be realistic about your situation, and remain in sync with family and friends.