In conversation with friends, you want to be courteous. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your boss/peers/clients are saying. 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.
You have to move in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You watch for facial hints, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You attempt to read people’s lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod in understanding as if you heard every word.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re struggling to keep up. Life at home and tasks at work have become unnecessarily overwhelming and you are feeling frustrated and isolated due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
Some research shows that situational factors including environmental acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and environmental awareness have a strong influence on the way a person hears. But for individuals who have hearing loss these factors are made even more difficult.
There are certain tell-tale habits that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing impairment is affecting your social and professional life:
- Leaning in When people are talking and unintentionally cupping your hand over your ear
- Asking others what was said after pretending to hear what someone was saying
- Finding it more difficult to hear over the phone
- Constantly needing to ask people to repeat themselves
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
- Unable to hear people talking behind you
While it may feel like this crept up on you in an all-of-a-sudden way, chances are your hearing loss didn’t occur overnight. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing impairment is something that takes most people at least 7 years.
This means if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has most likely been going un-addressed and untreated for some time. So begin by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.