Even now you’re missing calls. You don’t hear the phone ringing sometimes. Other times dealing with the garbled voice at the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But you’re shunning more than simply phone calls. Last week you missed basketball with friends. More and more often, this sort of thing has been happening. Your starting to feel somewhat isolated.
Your hearing loss is, obviously, the root cause. You haven’t quite determined how to incorporate your diminishing ability to hear into your daily life, and it’s triggering something that’s all too common: social isolation. Trading loneliness for friendship may take some work. But if you want to make it happen, here are a number of things you can try.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
Often you aren’t quite certain what the cause of your social isolation is when it first starts to occur. So, noticing your hearing loss is an important first step. That could mean making an appointment with a hearing professional, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making it a point to keep those hearing aids maintained.
Informing people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards acknowledgment. In a way, hearing loss is a type of invisible affliction. There’s no particular way to “look” like you have hearing loss.
So when somebody looks at you it’s unlikely they will observe that you have hearing loss. Your friends might begin to feel your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. If you let people know that you are having a tough time hearing, your reactions will be easier to understand.
You Shouldn’t Keep Your Hearing Loss Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and telling the people around you about it–is an important first step. Getting regular hearing aid checks to make certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also important. And curbing your first inclinations toward isolation can also help. But you can overcome isolation with a few more steps.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
There are a lot of people who value the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But if others could see your hearing aid they would have a better recognition of the struggle you are experiencing. Some people even personalize their hearing aids with custom designs. By making it more obvious, 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 The Right Treatment
If you’re not correctly treating your hearing condition it will be much harder to cope with your hearing loss or tinnitus. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly depending on the situation. But wearing or properly calibrating hearing aids is often a common factor. And even something that basic can make a significant difference in your daily life.
Be Clear About What You Need
It’s never fun to get yelled at. But there are some people who believe that’s the best way to communicate with somebody who has hearing loss. So letting people know how to best communicate with you is vital. Perhaps instead of 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 in the loop.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
It’s easy to stay away from everyone in the age of the internet. That’s why purposely placing 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 part of your calendar in an intentional and scheduled way. There are so many simple ways to see people like walking around your neighborhood. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain keep processing sound cues and discern words correctly.
It Can be Dangerous to Become Isolated
Your doing more than curtailing your social life by isolating yourself because of untreated hearing loss. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental concerns have been linked to this kind of isolation.
Being practical about your hearing condition is the best way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life on track, be honest about your situation, and remain in sync with family and friends.