If you have hearing loss and are experiencing social isolation, you’re not alone. It’s extremely common for people with this condition to withdraw from people and activities they once enjoyed. Because social isolation is a well-known risk factor for depression and dementia, it’s important to do what you can to combat it. We review how to avoid social isolation when you have hearing loss below.
Reach out to Loved Ones
Your loved ones care deeply about you, and they’ll do whatever they can to help you, but they won’t know you’re struggling unless you reach out. Invite a loved one over to your home or somewhere else that is quiet for coffee and conversation. Be sure to bring up your struggles, and if they offer, let them know what they can do to support you.
Use Communication Strategies
When you’re having conversations, there are ways to optimize the experience and understand better. We recommend trying:
- Facing them directly
- Hanging out somewhere with good lighting
- Avoiding eating while talking
- Turning off music, television or other background noise
- Taking turns speaking and not interrupting
You can also request that they:
- 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 sentences
- Rephrase rather than repeat after a misunderstanding
- Provide written materials for instructions or directions
Rediscover an Old Hobby
It may be intimidating to try to find a new hobby. However, rediscovering an old hobby can bring back wonderful memories. You may be surprised how quickly you’re able to pick it up again. You can go for walks at Westminster City Park on Sheridan Boulevard to look for birds, or maybe try playing an old instrument you have lying around. If you can, find a group of people who enjoy the same hobby.
See an Audiologist
According to one study, “Hearing aid use appears to be a buffer against the experience of loneliness.” This is why it’s important to see an audiologist if you’re having trouble hearing and finding yourself socially isolated.
For more information about combating social isolation or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Advantage ENT & Audiology today.