You’re missing phone calls now. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. Other times, you just don’t want to go through the annoyance of having a conversation with a garbled voice you can barely comprehend.
But you’re avoiding more than simply phone calls. Last week you skipped softball with friends. This sort of thing has been happening more and more. You can’t help but feel somewhat… isolated.
Your hearing loss is, obviously, the real cause. Your diminishing hearing is resulting in something far too common: social isolation – and you can’t figure out what to do about it. Trading solitude for camaraderie may take some work. But we have a number of things you can try to make it happen.
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. Scheduling an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids and keeping them well maintained are also important first steps.
Acknowledgment might also take the form of alerting people in your life about your loss of hearing. Hearing loss is, in many ways, an unseen health condition. There’s no specific way to “look” like you have hearing loss.
So it isn’t something anybody will likely pick up on just by looking at you. Your friends might begin to feel your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. 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.
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 scheduled hearing aid examinations to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed is also important. And it might help curb some of the first 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 a lot of people who value 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 convey your hearing loss more intentionally to others. Some people even go so far as to embellish their hearing aids with customized art or decorations. By making it more noticeable, you help other people to do you the courtesy of looking at you when they talk to you and making certain you understand before moving the conversation on.
Get Professional Help
Dealing with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be much harder if you aren’t properly treating that hearing ailment. Treatment methods could look very different depending on the situation. But wearing or properly adjusting hearing aids is usually a common factor. And even something that basic can make a huge difference in your daily life.
Be Clear About What You Need
Getting yelled at is never enjoyable. But people with hearing impairment frequently deal with individuals who feel that this is the preferred way to communicate with them. That’s why it’s important that you advocate for what you need from people around you. Perhaps rather than calling you via the phone, your friends can text you to arrange the next pickleball game. If everyone is in the loop, you’re not as likely to feel like you need to isolate yourself.
Put People In Your Path
It’s easy to stay away from everybody in the age of the internet. That’s the reason why intentionally placing people in your path can help you steer clear of isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, go to your local supermarket. Set up game night with your friends. Make those activities a part of your calendar in a deliberate and scheduled way. Even something as straight forward as taking a walk through your neighborhood can be a good way to see other people. In addition to helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to identify words precisely and to keep processing sound cues.
It Can be Dangerous to Become Isolated
If you’re separating yourself because of untreated hearing impairment, you’re doing more than curtailing your social life. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been connected to this type of isolation.
So the best way to keep your social life going and keep yourself happy and healthy along the way is to be practical about your hearing condition, be realistic about your situation, and remain in sync with family and friends.