Even now you’re missing phone calls. You don’t hear the phone ringing sometimes. Other times dealing with the garbled voice at the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But you’re avoiding more than simply phone calls. You skipped last week’s pickleball game, too. More and more often, this sort of thing has been taking place. You can’t help but feel somewhat… isolated.
Your hearing loss is, of course, the real cause. You haven’t quite determined how to incorporate your diminishing ability to hear into your daily life, and it’s leading to something that’s all too common: social isolation. Trading loneliness for camaraderie may take some work. But we have a number of things you can try to do it.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
Sometimes you aren’t quite certain what the cause of your social isolation is when it first starts to happen. So, noticing your hearing loss is a big first step. That might mean making an appointment with a hearing professional, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making sure you keep those hearing aids in working order.
Recognition may also take the form of telling people in your life about your hearing loss. In a way, hearing loss is a kind of invisible condition. Someone who is hard of hearing doesn’t have a particular “look”.
So when people look at you it’s not likely they will notice that you have hearing loss. Your friends may start to think your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. If you tell people that you are having a hard time hearing, your responses will be easier to understand.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be a Secret
An essential first step is being honest with yourself and others about your hearing loss. Getting regular hearing aid checks to make certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also worthwhile. And curbing your first inclinations toward isolation can also help. But you can combat isolation with several more steps.
Make it so Others Can See Your Hearing Aids
There are plenty of individuals who value the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But if people could see your hearing aid they might have a better recognition of the difficulty you are living with. Some people even go so far as to embellish their hearing aids with custom artwork or designs. You will motivate people to be more considerate when conversing with you by making it more obvious that you are hard of hearing.
Get The Correct Treatment
Coping with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be a lot more difficult if you aren’t effectively treating that hearing condition. What “treatment” looks like could fluctuate wildly from person to person. But normally, it means wearing hearing aids (or making certain that your hearing aids are properly calibrated). And even something that basic can make a significant difference in your day-to-day life.
Be Clear About What You Need
Getting yelled at is never fun. But people with hearing loss frequently deal with people who feel that this is the preferred way to communicate with them. That’s why it’s vital that you advocate for what you require from those close to you. Perhaps instead of calling you via the phone, your friends can text you to plan the next get together. If everybody is in the loop, you’re not as likely to feel the need to isolate yourself.
Put People In Your Pathway
In this age of internet-based food delivery, it would be easy 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. Meet up for a weekly card game. Make those activities part of your calendar in a deliberate and scheduled way. There are so many straight forward ways to see people like walking around your neighborhood. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain keep processing sound cues and discern words correctly.
Solitude Can Be Harmful
If you’re separating yourself because of neglected hearing loss, you’re doing more than curtailing your social life. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been linked to this type of isolation.
Being realistic about your hearing condition is the number one way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life on track, be realistic about your situation, and remain in sync with friends and family.