You’re missing telephone calls now. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. Other times, you simply don’t want to go through the annoyance of having a conversation with a garbled voice you can barely comprehend.
But it isn’t simply your phone you’re shunning. Last week you missed pickleball with friends. This kind of thing has been taking place more and more. You can’t help but feel somewhat… isolated.
Your hearing loss is, of course, the real cause. Your diminishing hearing is leading to something all too common: social isolation – and you can’t understand what to do about it. Trading solitude for camaraderie could take a little bit of work. But if you want to realize it, here are a number of things you can try.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
Sometimes you aren’t really sure what the cause of your social isolation is when it first begins to happen. So, recognizing 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 sure you keep those hearing aids in working order.
Recognition could also take the form of alerting people in your life about your hearing loss. In a way, hearing loss is a kind of invisible affliction. Someone who has hearing loss doesn’t have a specific “look”.
So it isn’t something people will likely pick up on just by looking at you. To your friends and co-workers, your turn towards isolation could feel anti-social. Making people aware of your hearing loss can help those around you understand what you’re going through and place your responses in a different context.
Your Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Kept Secret
An essential first step is being honest with yourself and others regarding your hearing loss. Getting regular hearing aid examinations to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed is also important. And curbing your first inclinations toward isolation can also help. But you can combat isolation with several more steps.
Make it so People Can See Your Hearing Aids
There are lots of people who value the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But it might be that making your hearing aid a little more visible could help you communicate your hearing impairment more intentionally to others. Some individuals even customize their hearing aids with custom artwork. You will motivate people to be more courteous when speaking with you by making it more obvious that you are hard of hearing.
Get Professional Help
Dealing with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be a lot harder if you aren’t correctly treating that hearing ailment. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly from person to person. But wearing or properly adjusting hearing aids is commonly a common factor. And your day-to-day life can be greatly affected by something even this basic.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
It’s never enjoyable to get yelled at. But there are some individuals who believe that’s the best way to communicate with someone who has hearing loss. That’s why it’s vital that you advocate for what you need from people close to you. Maybe rather than calling you via the phone, your friends can text you to plan the next get together. If everybody is in the loop, you’re less likely to feel the need to isolate yourself.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
In this age of internet-driven food delivery, it’s easy enough to avoid everyone for good. That’s why intentionally placing people in your path can help you avoid isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, go to your local supermarket. Schedule game night with your friends. Make those activities part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. There are lots of simple ways to see people like taking a walk around your neighborhood. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain keep processing sound cues and discern words precisely.
It Can be Hazardous to Become Isolated
If you’re separating yourself because of untreated hearing loss, you’re doing more than limiting your social life. Isolation of this type has been linked to cognitive decline, depression, worry, and other cognitive health concerns.
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 whatever you can to guarantee you’re making those regular card games.