You’re missing calls now. Often times, it’s that you can’t hear the phone ringing. In other cases coping with the garbled voice at the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But it’s not simply your phone you’re shunning. You missed out on last week’s softball game, too. This type of thing has been occurring more and more. You can’t help but feel somewhat… isolated.
Your hearing loss is, obviously, the root cause. You haven’t really figured out how to incorporate your diminishing ability to hear into your daily life, and it’s resulting in something that’s all too common: social isolation. Trading solitude for camaraderie might take a little bit of work. But if you want to do it, here are some things you can do.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
Sometimes you aren’t really certain 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 may mean scheduling 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 acknowledgment. Hearing loss is, in many ways, an invisible health condition. There’s no particular way to “look” like you have hearing loss.
So it’s not something people will likely recognize just by looking at you. To your people around you, your turn towards isolation could seem to be 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.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be Kept Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and informing the people around you about it–is an important first step. Getting scheduled hearing aid exams to make certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also essential. And it might help curb some of the initial isolationist inclinations you might feel. But you can deal with isolation with a few more steps.
Make it so Others Can See Your Hearing Aids
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 recognition of the difficulty you are experiencing. Some individuals even customize their hearing aids with custom designs. You will motivate people to be more courteous when talking with you by making it more obvious that you have hearing loss.
Get Professional Treatment
If you’re not correctly treating your hearing condition it will be much harder to cope with your tinnitus or hearing loss. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly depending on the situation. But usually, it means using hearing aids (or ensuring that your hearing aids are properly calibrated). And even something that simple can make a significant difference in your daily life.
Be Clear About What You Need
Getting shouted at is never fun. But there are some individuals who believe that’s the best way to communicate with somebody who suffers from hearing loss. So telling people how to best communicate with you is important. Maybe instead of calling you on the phone, your friends can text you to arrange the next get together. You won’t be as likely to isolate yourself if you can get everyone on the same page.
Put People In Your Path
In this time of internet-based food delivery, it would be easy to avoid everyone for good. That’s the reason why you can avoid isolation by purposely placing yourself in situations where there will be people. Shop at your local supermarket instead of ordering groceries from Amazon. Set up game night with friends. Make those activities part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. There are so many straight forward ways to run into 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 identify words precisely.
Solitude Can Be Hazardous
If you’re separating yourself because of neglected hearing loss, you’re doing more than curtailing your social life. Isolation of this sort has been connected to mental decline, depression, worry, and other mental health issues.
So the best way to keep your social life going and keep yourself happy and healthy at the same time is to be practical about your hearing ailment, be honest about your situation, and do what you can to guarantee you’re showing up for those weekly card games.