Even now you’re missing calls. Often times, it’s that you don’t hear the phone ring. In other cases dealing with the garbled voice on the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But it’s not simply your phone you’re staying away from. You missed last week’s bowling night, too. This sort of thing has been happening more and more. Your starting to feel a little isolated.
Your hearing loss is, obviously, the root cause. Your diminishing hearing is leading to something far too common: social isolation – and you can’t understand what to do about it. Getting away from loneliness and back to being social can be complicated. But if you want to realize it, here are a number of things you can try.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
In many cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t entirely sure what the underlying cause is. So, recognizing your hearing loss is a big first step. That might mean making an appointment with a hearing specialist, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making it a point to keep those hearing aids in working order.
Telling people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards acknowledgment. In a way, hearing loss is a type of invisible ailment. There’s no particular way to “look” like you have hearing loss.
So when people look at you it’s not likely they will detect that you have hearing loss. Your friends may begin to think your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. If you tell people that you are having a tough 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 essential first step. Making certain your hearing stays consistent by having regular hearing checks is also important. And it may help curb some of the first isolationist inclinations you might feel. But there are a few more steps you can take to fight isolation.
Make it so Others Can See Your Hearing Aids
There are plenty 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 relate your hearing loss more deliberately to others. Some people even personalize their hearing aids with custom designs. By making it more noticeable, you invite other people to do you the courtesy of looking at you when they speak with you and making certain you understand before moving the conversation forward.
Get Professional Treatment
Coping with your tinnitus or hearing loss is going to be a lot harder if you aren’t correctly treating that hearing condition. Management could look very different depending on the situation. But often, it means using hearing aids (or making certain that your hearing aids are correctly adjusted). And even something that basic can make a real difference in your everyday life.
Be Clear About What You Need
Getting shouted at is never fun. But individuals with hearing loss routinely deal with individuals who feel that this is the best way to communicate with them. That’s why it’s essential that you advocate for what you need from those around you. Perhaps instead of calling you via the phone, your friends can text you to plan the next pickleball game. If everyone is in the loop, you’re not as likely to feel the need to isolate yourself.
Put People In Your Pathway
In this age of internet-driven food delivery, it’s easy enough to avoid everybody for good. That’s why you can steer clear of isolation by intentionally placing yourself in situations where there will be people. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local grocery store. Set up game night with friends. Make those plans part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. There are lots of straight forward ways to run into people like walking around your neighborhood. In addition to helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to identify words precisely and to keep processing sound cues.
Solitude Can Be Hazardous
If you’re isolating yourself because of neglected hearing impairment, you’re doing more than curtailing your social life. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been connected to this sort of isolation.
So the best way to keep your social life humming along and keep yourself happy and healthy at the same time is to be realistic about your hearing condition, be realistic about your situation, and do whatever you can to ensure you’re showing up for those weekly card games.