You want to be polite when you’re talking to friends. You want your customers, colleagues, and supervisor to see that you’re completely involved when you’re at work. You frequently find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the conversation that you couldn’t hear very well.
You have to lean in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You watch for facial hints, listen for inflection, and tune in to body language. You attempt to read people’s lips. And if none of that works, you nod in understanding as if you heard every word.
Maybe you’re in denial. You missed a lot of what was said, and you’re struggling to keep up. Life at home and tasks at work have become unnecessarily overwhelming and you are feeling aggravated and cut off due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
Some research shows that situational factors including environmental acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on the way we hear. But for people who suffer from hearing loss, these factors are made even more challenging.
Look out for these behaviors
Here are a few behaviors to help you determine whether you are, in fact, fooling yourself into thinking hearing loss isn’t impacting your professional and social relationships, or whether it’s just the acoustics in the environment:
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without realizing it
- Unable to hear others talking from behind you
- Thinking people aren’t speaking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
- Repeatedly having to ask people to repeat themselves
- Asking others what you missed after pretending you heard what they were saying
- Missing what people are saying when on phone conversations
While it may feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, more than likely your hearing loss didn’t occur overnight. Acknowledging and seeking out help for hearing loss is something that takes most individuals at least 7 years.
That means that if your hearing loss is a problem now, it has most likely been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Begin by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.