You’re missing phone calls now. Sometimes, it’s that you can’t hear the phone ringing. On other occasions, you just don’t want to deal with the annoyance of having a conversation with a garbled voice you can barely comprehend.
But it isn’t simply your phone you’re avoiding. You missed out on last week’s darts league, too. This type of thing has been taking place more and more. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
The real cause, of course, is your loss of hearing. Your diminishing ability to hear is leading to something all too common: social isolation – and you can’t understand what to do about it. Escaping isolation and getting back to being social can be challenging. But if you want to realize it, here are a few things you can try.
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 starts to happen. So, noticing your hearing loss is a big first step. Scheduling an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids and keeping them in good working order are also important first steps.
Informing 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 when people look at you it’s unlikely they will detect that you have hearing loss. Your friends might begin to feel your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. Talking about your hearing loss can help those around you understand what you’re dealing with and place your reactions in a different context.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be a Secret
An essential first step is being honest with yourself and others regarding your hearing loss. Getting regular hearing aid exams to make certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also essential. And it may help curb some of the initial isolationist inclinations you might feel. But you can combat isolation with a few more steps.
Make it so Others Can See Your Hearing Aids
There are plenty of people 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 deliberately to others. Some people even go so far as to embellish their hearing aids with customized art or decorations. You will encourage people to be more considerate when talking with you by making it more obvious that you are hard of hearing.
Get Professional Treatment
Dealing with your tinnitus or hearing loss is going to be a lot harder if you aren’t correctly treating that hearing condition. Management could look very different depending on the person. But wearing or properly adjusting hearing aids is usually a common factor. And even something that simple can make a real difference in your everyday life.
Be Clear About What You Need
It’s never fun to get shouted at. But individuals with hearing impairment frequently deal with individuals who think that this is the best way to communicate with them. 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. You will be less likely to isolate yourself if you can get everyone in the loop.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
In this time of internet-based 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. Shop at your local grocery store rather than ordering groceries from Amazon. Schedule game night with your friends. Make those plans a part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. There are so many straight forward ways to see people such as 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.
It Can be Hazardous to Become Isolated
Your doing more than limiting your social life by separating yourself because of untreated hearing impairment. Isolation of this type has been connected to mental decline, depression, worry, and other cognitive health concerns.
So the best path to keep your social life going and keep yourself happy and healthy along the way is to be realistic about your hearing condition, be realistic about your situation, and do whatever you can to guarantee you’re showing up for those weekly card games.