If you have ceased to enjoy group gatherings, are refusing dinner invitations, or find yourself avoiding telephone conversations, you may be allowing yourself to become socially isolated. People who study aging remind us often that socialization plays an important role in successful aging. Communication is the basis of all social interactions
Loss of hearing makes communication frustrating. Attending discussion groups, idle chit chat over meals or catching up on family gossip by phone is what keeps you in the loop. Not being able to hear is frustrating not only for you, but for the people who want to talk to you. If you shut them out you have severed an important link.
You may have toyed with the idea of learning sign language, but it is hard and everyone else would have to learn too. Communication is a two way process. Lip reading is a good option, but once again it takes time and effort to figure out the words, and you have to keep reminding people that they need to get your attention (without sneaking up and scaring you) and speak right to your face.
Hearing aids are state of the art these days but many seniors reject them out of hand. They refuse to wear them because they find them uncomfortable and leave them out more often than not. People often lose hearing aids because they don’t wear them all the time. Aids left on dinner tables or bedside tables often end up in the garbage. Hearing aids are too expensive to be treated casually. They need to be fitted by a professional and they need to be worn all of the time if you want to get used to them.
Another option is closed caption. You know what that is. Many television sets have a closed caption option. A written translation appears on the bottom of the screen so that you don’t miss any of the dialogs or lose track of the story line. How many of you are taking advantage of that? It is great tool, but in all of my years working with seniors I only saw one or two people use it.
Captioning telephones have also been around for a long while, but I have only seen them in use once or twice. Captioned phones are available for nearly everyone now and they are no longer deemed mysterious or complicated. Captioning telephones are modern technology at its best. It can be difficult to understand people talking on the phone under the best of circumstances so you are not alone. A captioned telephone looks and works just like a regular phone except that a built in display screen spells out everything the other party is saying during a conversation. If you feel that you have missed a part of the conversation you can read the words on the screen without being embarrassed of asking the other person to repeat themselves. Research Captioning Telephones and find out if they could add a little something extra to your life. Keep your lines of communication open.