Social isolation is an extremely common side effect of untreated hearing loss. This is because, when you can’t hear well, it’s all too easy to withdraw from people and activities you once enjoyed. Since social isolation is a risk factor for more serious conditions like depression and dementia, it is essential to address the underlying cause without delay. This is why we recommend seeking treatment for your hearing loss early, as well as trying the following techniques.
Seeing an Audiologist
One study reports, “Hearing aid use appears to be a buffer against the experience of loneliness.” See an audiologist to seek treatment if you’re struggling with hearing loss and social isolation.
Reaching out to Loved Ones
Your friends and family care about you so much, which is why they’ll do whatever they can to help you out. However, they won’t know if you’re struggling unless you reach out and let them know. Invite some loved ones over to your home or somewhere else that is quiet for refreshments and conversation. Bring up your hearing loss, and if and when they ask, let them know what kind of support you need.
Using Communication Strategies
Whenever you’re having conversations, whether it’s with a loved one or the mail delivery or repair person, try the following communication strategies to optimize the experience:
- Facing them directly.
- Conversing somewhere with good lighting.
- Avoiding eating while talking.
- Turning off distracting background noise.
- Taking turns speaking and not interrupting one another.
You can also ask them to:
- 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.
Rediscovering an Old Hobby
Picking up a new hobby can be intimidating, but rediscovering an old hobby can bring back wonderful memories – plus, you may be surprised how naturally it comes back to you. Try playing an old instrument you have lying around or go birdwatching at a local park. Find a group of like-minded people who enjoy the same activities. To learn more about combating social isolation or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call Arizona Hearing Specialists today.