You’re missing calls now. Sometimes, it’s that you don’t hear the phone ringing. Other times coping with the garbled voice on the other end is simply too much of a hassle.
But you’re shunning more than just phone calls. Last week you missed a round of golf with friends. More and more often, this sort of thing has been occurring. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
The real cause, obviously, is your hearing loss. You haven’t quite figured out how to integrate your diminishing ability to hear into your day-to-day life, and it’s resulting in something that’s all too common: social isolation. Escaping isolation and getting back to being social can be complicated. But we have a few things you can try to do it.
Acknowledging Your Hearing Loss is The First Step
Often you aren’t really 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 well maintained are also strong first steps.
Acknowledgment could also take the form of telling people in your life about your loss of hearing. 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 isn’t something anybody will likely recognize just by looking at you. Your friends may start to feel your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. If you let people know that you are having a difficult time hearing, your responses will be easier to understand.
You Shouldn’t Keep Your Hearing Loss Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and informing the people around you about it–is an essential first step. Getting regular hearing aid exams to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed is also worthwhile. 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 Your Hearing Aids Visible
There are a lot of individuals who place a premium on the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But it might be that making your hearing aid pop a little more could help you communicate your hearing impairment more intentionally to others. Some individuals even personalize their hearing aids with custom designes. You will persuade people to be more courteous when talking with you by making it more apparent that you have hearing loss.
Get The Correct Treatment
Dealing with your tinnitus or hearing loss is going to be a lot harder if you aren’t properly treating that hearing ailment. What “treatment” looks like could fluctuate wildly from person to person. But wearing or properly calibrating hearing aids is usually a common factor. And even something that simple can make a huge difference in your daily life.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
It’s never fun to get yelled at. But people with hearing impairment frequently deal with people who feel that this is the preferred way to communicate with them. So letting people know how to best communicate with you is essential. Perhaps instead of calling you on the phone, your friends can text you to arrange the next get together. If everybody is in the loop, you’re not as likely to feel like you need to isolate yourself.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
It’s easy to stay away from everyone in the age of the internet. That’s the reason why you can avoid isolation by purposely putting yourself in situations where there are people. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local grocery store. Set up game night with friends. Make those plans a part of your calendar in a deliberate 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 discern words correctly.
Isolation Can Be Dangerous
Your doing more than curtailing your social life by separating yourself because of untreated hearing impairment. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been connected to this type of isolation.
So the best way for you to keep your social life going and keep yourself happy and healthy along the way is to be practical about your hearing condition, recognize the truths, and remain in sync with friends and family.