Even now you’re missing calls. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. Other times coping with the garbled voice on the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But it’s not just your phone you’re shunning. You skipped last week’s bowling night, too. This type of thing has been happening more and more. You can’t help but feel somewhat… isolated.
Your hearing loss is, of course, the root cause. You haven’t quite determined how to incorporate your diminishing ability to hear into your day-to-day life, and it’s triggering something that’s all too common: social isolation. Escaping isolation and getting back to being social can be tricky. But we have a number of things you can try to make it happen.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
Sometimes you aren’t really certain what the cause of your social isolation is when it first starts to occur. So, noticing your hearing loss is a big first step. Making an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids and keeping them well maintained are also strong first steps.
Informing people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards acknowledgment. Hearing loss is, in many ways, an unseen health condition. There’s no specific way to “look” like you’re hard of hearing.
So when people look at you it’s unlikely they will detect that you have hearing loss. 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.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be a Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and informing the people around you about it–is an essential first step. Making certain your hearing remains consistent by getting regular hearing exams is also important. And it might help curb some of the initial isolationist inclinations you might feel. But there are several more steps you can take to fight isolation.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
The majority of people feel like a smaller more invisible hearing aid is a more ideal option. But it could be that making your hearing aid pop a little more could help you convey your hearing loss more deliberately to others. Some people even go so far as to emblazon their hearing aids with custom art or designs. You will encourage people to be more courteous when talking with you by making it more apparent that you have hearing loss.
Get Professional Help
Coping with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be much harder if you aren’t properly treating that hearing condition. Treatment methods could be very different depending on the situation. But wearing or properly adjusting hearing aids is usually a common factor. And your daily life can be greatly impacted by something even this basic.
Be Clear About What You Need
It’s never enjoyable to get yelled at. But people with hearing loss regularly deal with individuals who think that this is the best way to communicate with them. That’s why it’s important that you advocate for what you need from people around you. Maybe rather than calling you on the phone, your friends can text you to plan the next pickleball game. You won’t be as likely to isolate yourself if you can get everyone on the same page.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
In this age of internet-based food delivery, it would be easy to avoid everyone for good. That’s the reason why purposely placing people in your path can help you avoid isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local grocery store. Schedule game night with your friends. Make those plans part of your calendar in a deliberate and scheduled way. There are lots of simple ways to see people like walking around your neighborhood. Besides helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to discern words correctly and to keep processing sound cues.
Isolation Can Be Hazardous
If you’re separating yourself because of untreated hearing impairment, you’re doing more than curtailing your social life. Isolation of this type has been connected to cognitive decline, depression, worry, and other cognitive health concerns.
Being realistic about your hearing problem is the best way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life going in the right direction, be realistic about your situation, and do whatever you can to ensure you’re making those weekly card games.