In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your supervisor/co-worker/clients are talking about. You regularly find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was less difficult to tune out parts of the discussion that you couldn’t hear very well.
On zoom calls you lean in closer. You pay attention to body language and facial clues and listen for verbal inflections. You attempt to read people’s lips. And if none of that works, you nod as if you heard every word.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed lots of what was said, and you’re straining to catch up. You might not know it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and discouraged, making tasks at work and life at home unnecessarily difficult.
According to some studies, situational factors including room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and environmental awareness have a major influence on the way a person hears. These factors are relevant, but it can be a lot worse for individuals who have hearing loss.
Here are a few behaviors to help you determine whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing loss isn’t affecting your professional and social relationships, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in their environment:
- Thinking others aren’t speaking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
- Pretending to comprehend, only to later ask others about what was said
- Constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves
- Finding it more difficult to hear over the phone
- Having a hard time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Leaning in during conversations and unconsciously cupping your hand over your ear
While it may feel like this crept up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing loss didn’t occur overnight. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before accepting the problem and finding help.
That means if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has probably been going un-addressed and neglected for some time. Hearing loss is no joke so stop kidding yourself and make an appointment right away.