In conversation with friends, you want to be courteous. At work, you want to appear involved, even enthralled with what your manager/peers/customers are talking about. You often 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.
You have to lean in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You look for facial hints, listen for inflection, and tune in to body language. You try 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’re straining to keep up because you missed most of the conversation. Life at home and projects at work have become unnecessarily difficult and you are feeling aggravated and isolated due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
According to some studies, situational factors such as environmental acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a major influence on how a person hears. These factors are always in play, but they can be much worse for individuals who have hearing loss.
Watch out for these behaviors
Here are some behaviors to help you determine whether you are, in fact, fooling yourself into thinking hearing impairment isn’t impacting your social and professional relationships, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in the environment:
- Having a difficult time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Leaning in When people are talking and unconsciously cupping your hand over your ear
- Pretending to comprehend, only to later ask others what you missed
- Asking people to repeat themselves over and over again
- Finding it harder to hear over the phone
- Thinking others aren’t speaking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
While it might feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, more than likely your hearing impairment didn’t happen overnight. Acknowledging and seeking out help for hearing loss is something that takes most individuals 7 years or more.
So if you’re noticing symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been going on for some time unnoticed. Begin by making an appointment now, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.