In conversation with friends, you like to be polite. You want your clients, co-workers, and supervisor to see that you’re fully engaged when you’re at work. With family, you may find it less difficult to just tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to fill in what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
You have to lean in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, and 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 what was said, and you’re straining to catch up. You may not recognize it, but years of progressive hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and discouraged, making projects at work and life at home needlessly overwhelming.
According to some studies, situational factors like room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and environmental awareness have a strong influence on the way a person hears. These factors are relevant, but they can be far worse for individuals who are suffering from hearing loss.
Look out for these behaviors
Here are a few behaviors to help you determine whether you are, in truth, convincing yourself that your hearing loss is not affecting your social and professional relationships, or whether it’s just the acoustics in the environment:
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without realizing it
- Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
- Having a difficult time hearing what others behind you are saying
- Pretending to understand, only to later ask others about what was said
- Thinking others aren’t talking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
- Asking people to repeat themselves over and over again
Hearing loss most likely didn’t occur overnight even though it could feel as if it did. Most people wait 7 years on average before accepting the problem and seeking help.
That means that if your hearing loss is a problem now, it has most likely been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Hearing loss is no joke so stop kidding yourself and schedule an appointment right away.