Even now you’re missing phone calls. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. In other cases coping with the garbled voice on the other end is simply too much of a hassle.
But you’re staying away from more than simply phone calls. Last week you skipped pickleball with friends. This sort of thing has been happening more and more. Your beginning to feel a little isolated.
Your hearing loss is, of course, the real cause. Your diminishing ability to hear is resulting in something far too common: social isolation – and you can’t determine what to do about it. Trading loneliness for friendship may take a little bit of work. But if you want to realize it, here are a few things you can try.
Acknowledging Your Hearing Loss is Step Number One
In a good number of cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t quite certain what the underlying cause is. So, noticing your hearing loss is an important first step. That might mean scheduling an appointment with a hearing professional, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making sure you keep those hearing aids in working order.
Acknowledgment may 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 has hearing loss doesn’t have a particular “look”.
So when somebody looks at you it’s not likely they will notice that you have hearing loss. To your friends and co-workers, 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 dealing with and place your responses in a different context.
Your Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Kept Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and informing the people around you about it–is an essential first step. Getting scheduled hearing aid exams to make certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also worthwhile. And it might help curb some of the initial isolationist tendencies you might feel. But there are several more steps you can take to fight 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 might be that making your hearing aid pop a little more could help you convey your hearing impairment more deliberately to others. Some individuals even go so far as to emblazon their hearing aids with customized art or decorations. You will encourage people to be more considerate when speaking with you by making it more obvious that you are hard of hearing.
Get Professional Treatment
If you aren’t effectively treating your hearing ailment it will be quite a bit harder to deal with your hearing loss or tinnitus. What “treatment” looks like could vary wildly from person to person. But often, it means wearing hearing aids (or making certain that your hearing aids are correctly calibrated). And even something that simple can make a real difference in your day-to-day life.
Be Clear About What You Need
It’s never fun to get yelled at. But people with hearing loss frequently deal with people who think that this is the best way to communicate with them. That’s why it’s vital that you advocate for what you require from people close to 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 Path
In this age of internet-driven 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 steer clear of isolation. Shop at your local supermarket rather than ordering groceries from Amazon. Gather for a weekly card game. Social events should be scheduled on your calendar. Even something as simple as going for a walk around your neighborhood can be a good way to run into other people. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain continue to process sound cues and identify words correctly.
Isolation Can Be Hazardous
If you’re isolating 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 issues.
So the best path to keep your social life going and keep yourself happy and healthy along the way is to be practical about your hearing ailment, recognize the truths, and remain in sync with family and friends.