Even now you’re missing phone calls. 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 you’re staying away from more than just phone calls. Last week you skipped pickleball with friends. More and more often, this kind of thing has been occurring. You can’t help but feel a little… isolated.
The root cause, of course, is your loss of hearing. You haven’t really 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 challenging. But if you want to realize it, here are a number of things you can do.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
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. 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 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 kind of invisible ailment. Someone who has hearing loss doesn’t have a particular “look”.
So it’s not something anyone will likely notice just by looking at you. To your friends and co-workers, your turn towards isolation could seem to be anti-social. Talking about your hearing loss can help those around you understand what you’re going through and place your reactions in a different context.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be a Secret
Accepting your hearing loss–and telling the people around you about it–is an important first step. Getting regular hearing aid examinations to make sure your hearing hasn’t changed is also essential. And curbing your first tendencies toward isolation can also be helpful. But you can overcome isolation with a few more steps.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
Most people think that a smaller more invisible hearing aid is a more ideal option. But it could be that making your hearing aid pop a little more could help you convey your hearing loss more intentionally to others. Some people even go so far as to embellish their hearing aids with custom art or designs. By making it more obvious, you help 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 on.
Get The Correct Treatment
If you’re not properly treating your hearing condition it will be a lot harder to cope with your tinnitus or hearing loss. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly from person to person. But normally, it means using hearing aids (or making sure that your hearing aids are properly calibrated). And even something that basic can make a real difference in your daily life.
Be Clear About What You Need
It’s never fun to get yelled at. But people with hearing loss routinely deal with individuals who think that this is the preferred way to communicate with them. That’s why it’s important that you advocate for what you need from those close to you. Perhaps texting to make plans would be a better option than calling. You will be less likely to isolate yourself if you can get everyone on the same page.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
It’s easy to stay away from everybody in the age of the internet. That’s the reason why intentionally putting people in your path can help you steer clear of isolation. Instead of ordering groceries from Amazon, shop at your local supermarket. Schedule game night with friends. Make those activities 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. Besides helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to identify words correctly and to keep processing sound cues.
It Can be Hazardous to Become Isolated
If you’re isolating yourself because of untreated hearing impairment, you’re doing more than curtailing your social life. Isolation of this type has been connected to mental decline, depression, worry, and other mental health problems.
Being practical about your hearing condition is the number one way to keep yourself healthy and happy and to keep your social life going in the right direction, be honest about your situation, and stay in sync with family and friends.