You’re missing telephone calls now. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. On other occasions, you just don’t want to go through the hassle of having a conversation with a garbled voice you can barely comprehend.
But it’s not just your phone you’re staying away from. You missed out on last week’s softball game, too. This kind of thing has been happening more and more. You can’t help but feel somewhat… isolated.
The root cause, obviously, is your loss of hearing. You haven’t quite determined how to incorporate your diminishing ability to hear into your everyday life, and it’s triggering something that’s all too common: social isolation. Getting away from loneliness and back to being social can be tricky. But we have a few 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 quite certain what the underlying cause is. So, noticing your hearing loss is a big first step. That could mean scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist, 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 unseen health condition. Someone who is hard of hearing doesn’t have a specific “look”.
So when people look at you it’s unlikely they will notice that you have hearing loss. Your friends may 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 responses in a different context.
You Shouldn’t Keep Your Hearing Loss Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and telling the people around you about it–is an essential first step. Making certain your hearing remains consistent by having regular hearing checks is also important. And curbing your first inclinations toward isolation can also be helpful. But there are a few more steps you can take to tackle isolation.
Make it so Others Can See Your Hearing Aids
The majority of people think that a smaller more invisible hearing aid is a more ideal choice. But it could be that making your hearing aid pop a little more could help you relate your hearing impairment more intentionally to others. Some people even go so far as to embellish their hearing aids with custom art or designs. By making it more obvious, you invite other people to do you the courtesy of looking at you when they talk to you and making sure you understand before moving the conversation on.
Get The Right Treatment
Coping with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be much harder if you aren’t properly treating that hearing ailment. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly from person to person. But wearing or properly calibrating hearing aids is often a common factor. And even something that basic can make a substantial difference in your daily life.
Be Clear About What You Need
It’s never fun to get yelled at. But there are some people who assume that’s the preferred way to communicate with someone who suffers from hearing loss. So telling people how to best communicate with you is important. Perhaps rather than calling you on the phone, your friends can text you to arrange the next pickleball game. If everybody is in the loop, you’re less likely to feel the need to isolate yourself.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
It’s easy to stay away from everybody in the age of the internet. That’s why you can avoid isolation by deliberately placing yourself in situations where there are people. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local grocery store. Get together for a weekly game of cards. Social activities should be scheduled on your calendar. There are so many straight forward ways to run into people such as walking around your neighborhood. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain keep processing sound cues and discern words precisely.
Solitude Can Be Harmful
Your doing more than limiting your social life by separating yourself because of neglected hearing loss. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental concerns have been linked to this kind of isolation.
Being sensible about your hearing problem is the best way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life on track, be honest about your situation, and do what you can to ensure you’re showing up for those regular card games.