You’re missing phone calls now. You don’t hear the phone ring sometimes. Other times 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 shunning. Last week you skipped basketball with friends. More and more frequently, this type of thing has been taking place. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
The real cause, of course, is your loss of hearing. You haven’t quite determined how to incorporate your diminishing ability to hear into your day-to-day life, and it’s leading to something that’s all too widespread: social isolation. Getting away from loneliness and back to being social can be tricky. But if you want to realize it, here are a number of things you can try.
Acknowledging Your Hearing Loss is The First Step
In many cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t quite sure what the root cause is. So, recognizing your hearing loss is an important first step. Making an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids and keeping them properly maintained are also strong first steps.
Telling people in your life that you have hearing loss is another step towards acknowledgment. In many ways, hearing loss is a type of invisible affliction. Someone who has hearing loss doesn’t have a specific “look”.
So it’s not something anyone will likely pick up on just by looking at you. To your friends and co-workers, your turn towards isolation could feel anti-social. Talking about your hearing loss can help people around you understand what you’re dealing with and place your reactions in a different context.
Your Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Kept Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and telling the people around you about it–is an important first step. Making certain your hearing remains consistent by getting regular hearing exams is also important. And it might help curb some of the first isolationist tendencies you might feel. But you can overcome isolation with several more steps.
Make it so People Can See Your Hearing Aids
There are plenty of individuals who place a premium on the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But it could be that making your hearing aid a little more visible could help you communicate your hearing impairment more deliberately to others. Some individuals even go so far as to emblazon their hearing aids with custom artwork or designs. By making it more noticeable, you encourage other people to do you the courtesy of looking at you when they talk to you and making sure you understand before moving the conversation on.
Get The Appropriate Treatment
If you aren’t correctly treating your hearing ailment it will be a lot harder to cope with your hearing loss or tinnitus. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly from person to person. But usually, it means using hearing aids (or making sure that your hearing aids are correctly adjusted). And even something that simple can make a real difference in your everyday life.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
It’s never fun to get yelled at. But there are some people who believe that’s the preferred way to communicate with someone who has hearing impairment. That’s why it’s important that you advocate for what you require from those around you. 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 People In Your Path
It’s easy to avoid everyone in the age of the internet. That’s the reason why you can steer clear of isolation by intentionally placing yourself in situations where there are people. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, go to your local grocery store. Set up game night with your friends. Social events should be scheduled on your calendar. There are lots of easy ways to see people such as taking a walk around your neighborhood. This will help you feel less isolated, but will also help your brain keep processing sound cues and identify words correctly.
Solitude Can Be Harmful
If you’re isolating yourself because of untreated hearing loss, you’re doing more than curtailing your social life. Anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and other mental issues have been linked to this kind of isolation.
So the best path 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 what you can to ensure you’re showing up for those weekly card games.