Even now you’re missing phone calls. You don’t hear the phone ringing sometimes. In other cases dealing with the garbled voice at the other end is simply too much of a hassle.
But you’re staying away from more than just phone calls. Last week you missed softball with friends. More and more often, this kind of thing has been occurring. Your starting to feel a little isolated.
The root cause, of course, is your hearing loss. You haven’t quite determined how to integrate your diminishing ability to hear into your everyday life, and it’s leading to something that’s all too widespread: social isolation. Escaping isolation and getting back to being social can be challenging. But we have a number of things you can try to make it happen.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
In many cases, social isolation first occurs when you aren’t quite certain what the underlying cause is. 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 sure you keep those hearing aids in working order.
Acknowledgment may also take the form of telling people in your life about your loss of hearing. Hearing loss is, in many ways, an invisible health condition. Someone who is hard of hearing doesn’t have a specific “look”.
So when people look at you it’s unlikely they will observe that you have hearing loss. Your friends might start to feel your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. Talking about your hearing loss can help people around you understand what you’re going through and place your reactions 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 important first step. Getting regular hearing aid exams to make certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also worthwhile. And curbing your first inclinations toward isolation can also be helpful. But there are a few more steps you can take to tackle isolation.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
The majority of people feel like a smaller less visible hearing aid is a more ideal option. But if others could see your hearing aid they might have a better recognition of the difficulty you are experiencing. Some individuals even personalize their hearing aids with custom artwork. You will persuade people to be more courteous when speaking with you by making it more apparent that you are hard of hearing.
Get Professional Help
Dealing with your tinnitus or hearing loss is going to be much more difficult if you aren’t correctly treating that hearing condition. Treatment could be very different depending on the situation. But wearing or properly calibrating hearing aids is often a common factor. And your day-to-day life can be substantially affected by something even this basic.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
Getting yelled at is never enjoyable. But there are some people who assume that’s the preferred way to communicate with someone who has hearing loss. So letting people know how to best communicate with you is essential. Maybe texting to make plans would be a better option than calling. 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 time of internet-driven food delivery, it would be easy to avoid everyone for good. That’s why purposely putting people in your path can help you avoid isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local supermarket. Set up game night with your friends. Make those plans a part of your calendar in a deliberate and scheduled way. Even something as straight forward as going for a walk around your neighborhood can be a good way to see other people. Besides helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to identify words precisely and continue to process sound cues.
It Can be Dangerous to Become Isolated
If you’re separating yourself because of untreated hearing impairment, you’re doing more than limiting your social life. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been connected to this kind of isolation.
So the best way for you to keep your social life going and keep yourself happy and healthy along the way is to be realistic about your hearing ailment, acknowledge the truths, and do whatever you can to guarantee you’re showing up for those weekly card games.