You’re missing phone calls now. On occasion, it’s that you don’t hear the phone ringing. On other occasions, you simply don’t want to deal with the hassle 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 a round of golf with friends. This sort of thing has been taking place more and more. You can’t help but feel somewhat… isolated.
The real cause, of course, is your loss of hearing. Your diminishing ability to hear is leading to something far too common: social isolation – and you can’t determine what to do about it. 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 sure what the root cause is. So, recognizing your hearing loss is an important first step. Making an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids and keeping them properly maintained are also important first steps.
Acknowledgment might also take the form of telling people in your life about your hearing loss. In many ways, hearing loss is a kind of invisible ailment. There’s no specific way to “look” like you’re hard of hearing.
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 people around you understand what you’re going through and place your reactions in a different context.
Your Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Kept Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and telling the people around you about it–is an important first step. Making certain your hearing remains consistent by having regular hearing exams is also significant. And it may help curb some of the initial isolationist tendencies you might feel. But you can combat isolation with several more steps.
Make it so Others Can See Your Hearing Aids
There are lots of individuals 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 difficulty you are experiencing. Some people even personalize their hearing aids with custom artwork. You will persuade people to be more considerate when speaking with you by making it more obvious that you are hard of hearing.
Get The Appropriate Treatment
Coping 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 could vary wildly from person to person. But normally, it means wearing hearing aids (or ensuring that your hearing aids are properly calibrated). And your daily life can be enormously affected by something even this simple.
Be Clear About What You Need
Getting shouted 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 essential 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 plan the next get together. If everyone can get on the same page, you’re less likely to feel like you need to isolate yourself.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
It’s easy to stay away from everyone in the age of the internet. That’s the reason why intentionally placing people in your path can help you avoid isolation. Go to your local grocery store instead of ordering groceries from Amazon. Schedule game night with friends. Make those plans part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. Even something as basic as going for a walk around your neighborhood can be a great way to run into other people. In addition to helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to identify words correctly and to keep processing sound cues.
It Can be Dangerous to Become Isolated
If you’re separating yourself because of neglected hearing impairment, you’re doing more than limiting your social life. Isolation of this type has been connected to mental decline, depression, worry, and other mental health problems.
So the best way to keep your social life going and keep yourself happy and healthy at the same time is to be realistic about your hearing condition, acknowledge the truths, and stay in sync with family and friends.