In conversation with friends, you like to be polite. You want your customers, colleagues, and boss to see that you’re completely involved when you’re at work. You frequently find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was less difficult to tune out parts of the conversation that you weren’t able to hear very well.
On conference calls you lean in closer. You watch for facial hints, listen for inflection, and pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if everything else fails – you fake it.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of what was said, and you’re straining to keep up. You may not recognize it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and discouraged, making projects at work and life at home needlessly difficult.
The ability for someone to hear is impacted by situational factors such as background sound, contending signals, room acoustics, and how familiar they are with their environment, according to research. But for individuals who suffer from hearing loss, these factors are made even more challenging.
Look out for these behaviors
There are some tell-tale behaviors that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is impacting your social and professional life:
- Asking people to repeat themselves again and again… and again
- Leaning in during conversations and unconsciously cupping your hand over your ear
- Asking others what you missed after pretending to hear what they were saying
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Having a difficult time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
While it might feel like this crept up on you suddenly, more than likely your hearing loss didn’t happen overnight. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing impairment is something that takes most individuals 7 years or more.
That means that if your hearing loss is a problem now, it has probably been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Start by making an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.