Even now you’re missing phone calls. , it’s that you don’t hear the phone ring. In other cases coping with the garbled voice on the other end is simply too much of a hassle.
But it’s not just your phone you’re avoiding. Last week you missed softball with friends. This sort of thing has been taking place more and more. Your starting to feel somewhat isolated.
The root cause, of course, is your loss of hearing. Your diminishing hearing is resulting in something all too common: social isolation – and you can’t figure out what to do about it. Trading solitude for camaraderie could take some work. But we have a number of things you can try to do it.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
In a good number of cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t quite sure what the root cause is. So, recognizing your hearing loss is an important first step. That could mean making an appointment with a hearing specialist, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making it a point to keep those hearing aids maintained.
Informing 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 particular “look”.
So when somebody looks at you it’s unlikely they will detect that you have hearing loss. Your friends might start to feel your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. Talking about your hearing loss can help those around you understand what you’re going through and place your reactions in a different context.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be a Secret
An important first step is being honest with yourself and others about your hearing loss. Getting regular hearing aid examinations to make certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also important. And it might help curb some of the first isolationist tendencies you might feel. But you can overcome isolation with several more steps.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
There are plenty of people who place a premium on the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But if people could see your hearing aid they might have a better understanding of the struggle you are going through. Some individuals even go so far as to emblazon their hearing aids with customized artwork or designs. You will persuade people to be more considerate when talking with you by making it more obvious that you have hearing loss.
Get Professional Treatment
Coping with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be much more difficult if you aren’t correctly treating that hearing condition. Treatment methods could be very different depending on the person. But normally, it means using hearing aids (or making sure that your hearing aids are correctly adjusted). And even something that basic can make a real difference in your daily life.
Be Clear About What You Need
It’s never fun to get shouted at. But there are some individuals who believe that’s the preferred way to communicate with somebody who has hearing loss. That’s why it’s vital that you advocate for what you need from people around you. Perhaps instead of calling you on the phone, your friends can text you to plan the next pickleball game. If everybody is in the loop, you’re less likely to feel like you need to isolate yourself.
Put People In Your Path
In this time of internet-driven food delivery, it would be easy to avoid all people for all time. That’s the reason why you can steer clear of isolation by intentionally putting yourself in situations where there are people. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, go to your local grocery store. Gather for a weekly card game. Make those activities part of your calendar in a deliberate and scheduled way. Even something as simple as taking a walk through your neighborhood can be a good way to run into other people. Besides helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to discern words precisely and to keep processing sound cues.
Solitude Can Be Hazardous
If you’re isolating yourself because of untreated hearing impairment, you’re doing more than curtailing your social life. Isolation of this sort has been linked to cognitive decline, depression, worry, and other cognitive health problems.
So the best way to keep your social life humming along and keep yourself happy and healthy at the same time is to be realistic about your hearing condition, be honest about your situation, and do whatever you can to ensure you’re showing up for those regular card games.