If you have hearing loss, you know it can be an incredibly isolating experience. Fortunately, there are ways to combat it. We review how to avoid social isolation when you have hearing loss below.
See an Audiologist
Audiologists are hearing health experts. They can not only administer diagnostic hearing exams to reveal your exact type and degree of hearing loss, but also prescribe hearing aids that will improve your communication and reduce feelings of isolation. One 2016 study reports, “Hearing aid use appears to be a buffer against the experience of loneliness.”
Connect with Loved Ones
Your loved ones care deeply about you, and they want to provide support. However, they won’t be able to do this if they don’t know you’re struggling with isolation caused by your hearing loss. If you have trouble communicating in group settings, invite just one or two loved ones over at a time. Let them know about your hearing loss and what you need from them to communicate effectively.
You can ask your loved ones to:
- Face you directly.
- Converse somewhere with good lighting.
- Avoid eating while talking.
- Turn off distracting background noise.
- Take turns speaking and not interrupting one another.
- Speak more clearly and slowly than usual, but still naturally.
- Say your name or touch your arm before they begin speaking to you.
- Use simple sentence structure.
- Rephrase rather than repeat after a misunderstanding.
- Provide written materials for instructions or directions.
Rediscover an Old Hobby
While it may be overwhelming to try and start a new hobby, rediscovering an old one may feel more accessible. For example, if you used to play an instrument or go bird watching, try to find a group that does these things and join them.
Take an Exercise Class
Your local gym may offer exercise classes, which is another great way to feel surrounded by people who are rooting for you, and you may even make some new friends while you’re there!
Volunteering is a great way to connect with others and also feel good about yourself for helping others. Look for local organizations that help those in need and consider joining. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Ear Specialists of Omaha & Bellevue today.