Even now you’re missing phone calls. Sometimes, it’s that you can’t hear the phone ring. Other times dealing with the garbled voice on the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But it isn’t just your phone you’re avoiding. You missed out on last week’s bowling night, too. More and more frequently, this kind of thing has been occurring. Your starting to feel a little isolated.
The root cause, of course, is your loss of hearing. You haven’t quite figured out how to assimilate your diminishing ability to hear into your day-to-day life, and it’s leading to something that’s all too widespread: social isolation. Escaping isolation and getting back to being social can be difficult. But we have a few things you can try to do it.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
In many cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t quite certain what the root cause is. So, recognizing your hearing loss is an important first step. Scheduling an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids and keeping them well maintained are also important first steps.
Telling people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards acknowledgment. In a way, hearing loss is a kind of invisible condition. 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. Your friends may start to feel your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. If you let people know that you are having a hard time hearing, your reactions will be easier to understand.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be a Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and telling the people around you about it–is an important first step. Making sure your hearing remains consistent by having regular hearing assessments is also essential. And it might help curb some of the first isolationist inclinations you might feel. But there are a few more steps you can take to combat isolation.
Make it so Others Can See Your Hearing Aids
There are lots 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 convey your hearing impairment more deliberately to others. Some individuals even personalize their hearing aids with custom artwork. By making it more obvious, you encourage other people to do you the courtesy of looking at you when they speak with you and making sure you understand before moving the conversation forward.
Get The Appropriate Treatment
Coping with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be much harder if you aren’t correctly treating that hearing condition. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly depending on the situation. But wearing or properly calibrating hearing aids is commonly a common factor. And even something that basic can make a real difference in your daily life.
Be Clear About What You Need
Getting yelled at is never enjoyable. But there are some individuals who assume that’s the best way to communicate with somebody who has hearing loss. That’s why it’s important that you advocate for what you require from people around you. Perhaps texting to make plans would be a better option than calling. If everybody is in the loop, you’re not as likely to feel the need to isolate yourself.
Put People In Your Pathway
In this time of internet-based food delivery, it would be easy to avoid everyone for good. 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 grocery store. Meet up for a weekly card game. Make those activities a part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. Even something as simple as taking a walk around your neighborhood can be a great way to run into other people. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain keep processing sound cues and identify words precisely.
It Can be Hazardous to Become Isolated
Your doing more than curtailing your social life by separating yourself because of neglected hearing impairment. Isolation of this kind has been connected to cognitive decline, depression, worry, and other mental health problems.
So the best way for you to keep your social life humming along and keep yourself happy and healthy at the same time is to be practical about your hearing ailment, be realistic about your situation, and do whatever you can to ensure you’re showing up for those regular card games.