You’re missing phone calls now. You don’t hear the phone ringing sometimes. In other cases dealing with the garbled voice on the other end is just too much of a hassle.
But you’re avoiding more than just phone calls. You skipped last week’s pickleball game, too. This kind of thing has been happening more and more. Your starting to feel somewhat isolated.
The root cause, obviously, is your hearing loss. Your diminishing hearing is leading to something far too common: social isolation – and you can’t understand what to do about it. Getting away from loneliness and back to being social can be complicated. But we have a few things you can try to do it.
First, Acknowledge Your Hearing Loss
In a good number of cases, social isolation first manifests when you aren’t quite sure what the root cause is. So, recognizing your hearing loss is a big first step. That might mean making an appointment with a hearing professional, getting fitted for hearing aids, and making it a point to keep those hearing aids maintained.
Acknowledgment could 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 has hearing loss doesn’t have a particular “look”.
So when people look at you it’s not likely they will notice that you have hearing loss. Your friends may start to think your isolation is a step towards being antisocial. Talking about your hearing loss can help those around you understand what you’re dealing with and place your responses in a different context.
Hearing Loss Shouldn’t Be Kept 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 certain your hearing hasn’t changed is also worthwhile. And it may help curb some of the first isolationist tendencies you might feel. But there are several more steps you can take to tackle isolation.
Make Your Hearing Aids Visible
There are lots of people who value the invisibility of hearing aids: the smaller the better, right? But if people could see your hearing aid they might have a better understanding of the difficulty you are experiencing. Some individuals even go so far as to emblazon their hearing aids with customized artwork or designs. By making it more obvious, you encourage other people to do you the courtesy of facing you when they talk to you and making certain you understand before moving the conversation forward.
Get Professional Help
If you aren’t effectively treating your hearing condition it will be quite a bit harder to deal with your hearing loss or tinnitus. What “treatment” looks like may fluctuate wildly depending on the situation. But normally, it means wearing hearing aids (or making sure that your hearing aids are correctly adjusted). And your everyday life can be greatly impacted by something even this basic.
Let People Know How They Can Help You
Getting yelled at is never fun. But there are some people who assume that’s the best way to communicate with somebody who suffers from hearing loss. That’s why it’s vital that you advocate for what you need from those around you. Perhaps rather than calling you via the phone, your friends can text you to arrange the next get together. You will be less likely to isolate yourself if you can get everyone in the loop.
Put Yourself in Social Situations
In this age of internet-driven food delivery, it’s easy enough to avoid all people for all time. That’s 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 your friends. Make those plans a part of your calendar in a deliberate and scheduled way. There are lots of simple ways to run into people like taking a walk around your neighborhood. Besides helping you feel less isolated, this will also help you to identify words correctly and continue to process sound cues.
It Can be Harmful to Become Isolated
If you’re isolating yourself because of untreated hearing loss, you’re doing more than limiting your social life. Isolation of this kind has been linked to mental decline, depression, worry, and other mental health problems.
Being realistic 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 do what you can to ensure you’re making those regular card games.