Recently, the question was raised somewhere whether other hearing impaired people are also avoiding more and more social contacts when their hearingloss gets worse.
My answer to that was brief and succinct: no, I certainly do not avoid social contacts. I try to balance social contacts and moments of rest. Where this is not possible, I make a conscious decision.
How I make a conscious decision depends on the questions: what do I need and what do I want? Depending on every situation, everyone should ask themselves these questions so that one is aware that there are options at all.
I will explain this with an example: I planned my week very precisely, appropriately and well-balanced. But here comes a request that is difficult to ignore, let us say an unexpected and urgent task or meeting within the scope of my work on the Executive Board. It would fit in my calendar, but actually I had planned to take a break. What do I do in this case? I look at what has priority for me at the moment, whether I really need to be retired or whether the Executive Board task is more important at that moment. And then I decide. When I decide to take on the board task, I look at how I can take a break in my week elsewhere and do it where I can.
And what can you do when your best friend asks you to have a drink or go to the theatre, and you’re actually too tired to go? You want to come with your friend, but you also need rest. What’s important at that moment?
Of course, communication in a theatre, birthday party or pub is especially stressful for the hearing impaired. On the other hand, it is also important to keep communicating with your social environment.
Many people with impaired hearing decide to retire and prefer to avoid going out of the house. This is not only a pity, but also endangers one’s own health.
Instead of staying away from contacts or events, it is better to take short breaks. If you are a smoker, it is easy to install a smoke break. For example, I myself go to the toilet a little more often and for a longer period of time at birthday parties. But maybe you can just go outside the door. Or make an appointment with your host(ess), that you can withdraw briefly in a quiet room.
Please do not avoid social contacts because this is too strenuous. Instead, inform your contacts about your hearing impairment and what you need for communication. This is not only better for your own well-being, but also for that of the other hearing impaired people, because information is knowledge and knowledge contributes to understanding.