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In an age where studies don’t seem to stop pointing out the health risks of loneliness (premature death, mental decline, you know the drill…) friendship seems like a more pressing priority than ever before. As well as helping us feel less alone during difficult times, it seems that a bustling social life could, literally, save us from ourselves.
Sadly, this goal can seem out of reach for anyone experiencing health setbacks. Chronic pain awareness of late has undoubtedly highlighted the socialization issues posed by ongoing complaints. And, as we’ll be considering here, issues like hearing loss also deserve attention in this respect.
For those who struggle to hear what other people are saying, socialization can often come hand-in-hand with anxiety. Even if you do manage to make connections, you may not feel capable of forming friendships. This is especially the case if you keep potential friends in the dark about what’s happening.
Just as last-minute chronic pain cancellations can cost friendships if the individual doesn’t explain, hidden hearing loss can lead to all manner of misunderstandings. Hard as it may be to open up, it’s vital you do so sooner in a relationship rather than later to ensure the following friendship fundamentals.
Like it or not, hearing loss can come across as rudeness. After all, you’re liable to accidentally ignore acquaintances you pass in the street, or abruptly cut conversations short. This is no way to the friendships you seek, and it’s an issue you can eliminate by just letting your friends know already.
Even the most patient person is liable to lose their cool when you ask them to repeat themselves for the fifth time. Until your social group knows what’s going on they may, therefore, find you incredibly frustrating. But, as soon as you let them in on your secret, they’re likely to show a brand new patience, even if you’re adjusting to new hearing aids or trying something else out. You certainly won’t irritate anyone again, no matter how many times they have to say the same thing.
You’re likely worried that friends will start speaking to you slowly or patronizing you once they know what’s going on, but that’s incredibly unlikely. Still, there’s no denying that being open does boost your chances of understanding. That’s because, if they’re good friends, people will always ask what they can do to make things easier for you. Something as simple as letting everyone know to look at you when they’re talking could be transformative to your social experiences. And, all it takes to make it happen is an open and honest approach.
Hearing loss, like many health complaints, can be incredibly isolating. But, there’s no need to let that stop you from making friends. Just get it all out in the open, and start enjoying the benefits of doing so!