Even now you’re missing calls. On occasion, it’s that you don’t hear the phone ring. Other times coping with the garbled voice on the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But it’s not just your phone you’re avoiding. You skipped last week’s pickleball game, too. This type of thing has been taking place more and more. You can’t help but feel somewhat… isolated.
Your hearing loss is, of course, the real cause. Your diminishing ability to hear is resulting in something far too common: social isolation – and you can’t determine what to do about it. Trading solitude for companionship might take a little bit of work. But we have a number of things you can try to do it.
Acknowledging Your Hearing Loss is The First Step
In many cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t entirely sure what the root cause is. So, recognizing your hearing loss is a big first step. That could mean making an appointment with a hearing professional, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making it a point to keep those hearing aids in working order.
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 have hearing loss.
So it isn’t 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. 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
An important first step is being honest with yourself and others regarding your hearing loss. Getting regular hearing aid exams to make sure 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
The majority of people think that a smaller less visible hearing aid is a more ideal choice. But if people could see your hearing aid they might have a better recognition of the struggle you are living with. Some people even go so far as to embellish their hearing aids with custom art or decorations. You will encourage people to be more courteous when speaking with you by making it more obvious that you have hearing loss.
Get Professional Treatment
Coping with your tinnitus or hearing loss is going to be much harder if you aren’t effectively treating that hearing ailment. What “treatment” looks like may vary wildly depending on the situation. But wearing or properly adjusting hearing aids is often a common factor. And even something that simple can make a real difference in your daily life.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
Getting yelled at is never enjoyable. But there are some people who assume that’s the best way to communicate with somebody who suffers from hearing loss. That’s why it’s vital that you advocate for what you need from people around you. Perhaps texting to make plans would be a better option than calling. If everyone is in the loop, you’re not as likely to feel like you need to isolate yourself.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
In this age of internet-based food delivery, it would be easy to avoid everyone for good. That’s the reason why intentionally 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. Make those plans part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. There are lots of straight forward ways to see people like taking a walk around your neighborhood. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain keep processing sound cues and identify words correctly.
It Can be Harmful to Become Isolated
Your doing more than curtailing your social life by separating yourself because of neglected hearing loss. Isolation of this kind has been connected to cognitive decline, depression, worry, and other mental health concerns.
So the best way for you to keep your social life going and keep yourself happy and healthy at the same time is to be practical about your hearing ailment, be honest about your situation, and stay in sync with family and friends.