In conversation with friends, you like to be courteous. You want your clients, co-workers, and manager 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 discussion that you weren’t able to hear very well.
On zoom calls you lean in closer. You watch for facial cues, listen for inflection, and tune in to body language. You try to read people’s lips. And if everything else fails – you fake it.
Maybe you’re in denial. You’re straining to keep up because you missed most of the conversation. Life at home and tasks at work have become unjustifiably difficult and you are feeling aggravated and isolated due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
The ability for a person to hear is influenced by situational factors including background noise, competing signals, room acoustics, and how acquainted they are with their setting, according to research. But for people who suffer from hearing loss, these factors are made even more challenging.
Look out for these behaviors
Here are some behaviors to help you determine whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing impairment isn’t affecting your professional and social relationships, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in the environment:
- Having a difficult time hearing what others behind you are saying
- Asking others what was said after pretending to hear what they were saying
- Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
- Feeling like people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
- Constantly having to ask people to repeat what they said
While it might feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing impairment didn’t happen overnight. The majority of people wait 7 years on average before acknowledging the problem and seeking help.
This means that if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has most likely been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Start by making an appointment right away, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.