You’re missing calls now. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. Other times, you just don’t want to go through the annoyance of having a conversation with a garbled voice you can barely understand.
But it’s not simply your phone you’re shunning. Last week you skipped pickleball with friends. More and more often, this type of thing has been happening. Your starting to feel somewhat isolated.
Your hearing loss is, of course, the root cause. Your diminishing ability to hear is leading to something all too common: social isolation – and you can’t determine what to do about it. Trading loneliness for camaraderie might take some work. But if you want to make it happen, here are some things you can try.
Acknowledging Your Hearing Loss is The First Step
Sometimes you aren’t really certain what the cause of your social isolation is when it first starts to occur. So, recognizing your hearing loss is an important first step. That could mean making an appointment with a hearing specialist, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making it a point to keep those hearing aids maintained.
Telling people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards recognition. In many ways, hearing loss is a kind of invisible ailment. Someone who is hard of hearing 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 people around you, your turn towards isolation could feel anti-social. If you let people know that you are having a hard time hearing, your responses will be easier to understand.
You Shouldn’t Keep Your Hearing Loss Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and informing the people around you about it–is an essential first step. Getting regular hearing aid checks to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed is also worthwhile. And curbing your first inclinations toward isolation can also be helpful. But you can overcome isolation with several more steps.
Make it so People Can See Your Hearing Aids
There are plenty of individuals who value the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But if others could see your hearing aid they might have a better recognition of the difficulty you are living with. Some people even individualize their hearing aids with custom artwork. By making it more noticeable, you help other people to do you the courtesy of facing you when they talk to you and making sure you understand before moving the conversation forward.
Get The Appropriate Treatment
Coping with your tinnitus or hearing loss 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 often a common factor. And your daily life can be substantially affected by something even this simple.
Be Clear About What You Need
It’s never enjoyable to get shouted at. But people with hearing impairment frequently deal with people who feel that this is the best way to communicate with them. So letting people know how to best communicate with you is important. Perhaps texting to make plans would be better than calling. You will be less likely to isolate yourself if you can get everyone on the same page.
Put People In Your Path
In this age of internet-based food delivery, it would be easy to avoid all people for all time. That’s the reason why you can steer clear of isolation by intentionally putting yourself in situations where there will be people. Shop at your local grocery store rather than ordering groceries from Amazon. Get together for a weekly card game. Social activities should be arranged on your calendar. There are so many simple ways to run into people such as walking around your neighborhood. In addition to helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to discern words correctly and continue to process sound cues.
Isolation Can Be Harmful
Your doing more than limiting your social life by isolating yourself because of untreated hearing loss. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been linked to this sort of isolation.
Being realistic about your hearing condition is the number one way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life on track, be honest about your situation, and do what you can to ensure you’re making those regular card games.