You’re missing phone calls now. Often times, it’s that you can’t hear the phone ringing. Other times coping with the garbled voice on the other end is simply too much of a hassle.
But it’s not just your phone you’re avoiding. Last week you skipped a round of golf with friends. More and more often, this sort of thing has been taking place. Your beginning 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 solitude for camaraderie might take a little bit of work. But if you want to do it, here are some things you can try.
Acknowledging Your Hearing Loss is Step Number One
In many cases, social isolation first manifests 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 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 many ways, hearing loss is a kind of invisible affliction. There’s no particular way to “look” like you’re hard of hearing.
So it’s not something anybody will likely notice just by looking at you. Your friends might start 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.
Your Hearing Loss Shouldn’t be Kept Secret
An essential first step is being honest with yourself and others about your hearing loss. Getting scheduled hearing aid examinations to make certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also essential. And it may help curb some of the initial isolationist tendencies you might feel. But there are a few 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 if others could see your hearing aid they would have a better recognition of the struggle you are going through. Some individuals even go so far as to emblazon their hearing aids with custom artwork or designs. You will encourage people to be more considerate when talking with you by making it more obvious that you have hearing loss.
Get Professional Help
Coping with your hearing loss or tinnitus is going to be much more difficult if you aren’t effectively treating that hearing ailment. Management could be very different depending on the person. But wearing or properly calibrating hearing aids is often a common factor. And your everyday life can be enormously affected by something even this simple.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
Getting yelled at is never enjoyable. But people with hearing impairment routinely deal with people who think that this is the preferred way to communicate with them. So letting people know how to best communicate with you is vital. Perhaps texting to make plans would be better than calling. You will be less 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’s easy enough to avoid everyone for good. That’s why you can steer clear of isolation by intentionally putting yourself in situations where there are people. Go to your local grocery store rather than ordering groceries from Amazon. Gather for a weekly card game. Social events should be scheduled on your calendar. There are so many easy ways to run into people such as walking around your neighborhood. In addition to helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to discern words precisely and continue to process sound cues.
It Can be Dangerous to Become Isolated
If you’re separating yourself because of neglected hearing loss, you’re doing more than limiting your social life. Isolation of this kind has been linked to cognitive decline, depression, worry, and other cognitive health problems.
Being practical about your hearing problem is the best way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life on track, be realistic about your situation, and stay in sync with family and friends.