Even now you’re missing phone calls. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. Other times dealing with the garbled voice at the other end is simply too much of a hassle.
But it isn’t just your phone you’re avoiding. Last week you skipped softball with friends. This kind of thing has been happening more and more. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
The real cause, obviously, is your loss of hearing. You haven’t really figured out how to assimilate your diminishing ability to hear into your daily life, and it’s triggering something that’s all too common: social isolation. Trading loneliness for camaraderie may take some work. But we have a few things you can try to achieve it.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
Often you aren’t really sure what the cause of your social isolation is when it first starts to happen. So, noticing 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.
Recognition might also take the form of alerting people in your life about your loss of hearing. Hearing loss is, in many ways, an invisible health condition. Someone who is hard of hearing doesn’t have a specific “look”.
So it’s not something people will likely notice just by looking at you. To your friends and co-workers, your turn towards isolation could feel anti-social. If you let people know that you are having a tough time hearing, your reactions will be easier to understand.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be a Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and informing the people around you about it–is an essential first step. Making certain your hearing stays consistent by having regular hearing assessments is also significant. And it may help curb some of the initial isolationist inclinations you may feel. But you can combat isolation with a few more steps.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
There are a lot of individuals who value the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But it could be that making your hearing aid pop a little more could help you relate your hearing loss more intentionally to others. Some people even customize their hearing aids with custom designs. You will persuade people to be more courteous when talking with you by making it more obvious that you are hard of hearing.
Get The Right Treatment
If you’re not properly treating your hearing condition it will be a lot harder to deal with your hearing loss or tinnitus. What “treatment” looks like may vary wildly depending on the situation. But usually, it means wearing hearing aids (or ensuring that your hearing aids are properly calibrated). And your day-to-day life can be enormously affected by something even this simple.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
It’s never enjoyable to get shouted at. But there are some people who assume that’s the best way to communicate with someone who has hearing impairment. That’s why it’s important that you advocate for what you require from those close to you. Perhaps rather than calling you on the phone, your friends can text you to arrange the next pickleball game. If everyone can get on the same page, you’re not as likely to feel the need to isolate yourself.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
In this age of internet-based food delivery, it would be easy to avoid all people for all time. That’s why purposely putting people in your path can help you avoid isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local grocery store. Gather for a weekly card game. Make those plans a part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. There are lots of simple ways to run into people like walking 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.
It Can be Hazardous to Become Isolated
Your doing more than curtailing your social life by separating yourself because of untreated hearing impairment. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental concerns have been connected to this sort of isolation.
Being practical about your hearing condition is the number one way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life going in the right direction, be honest about your situation, and do what you can to guarantee you’re making those weekly card games.