You want to be courteous when you are talking with friends. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your manager/colleagues/customers are saying. You regularly 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.
On conference calls you lean in closer. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, and pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod in understanding as if you heard everything.
Maybe you’re in denial. You’re struggling to catch up because you missed most of the conversation. You might not realize it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and frustrated, making tasks at work and life at home needlessly overwhelming.
According to some studies, situational factors such as room acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on the way a person hears. But for individuals who have hearing loss, these factors are made even more challenging.
Watch out for these behaviors
There are some tell-tale habits that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is impacting your social and professional life:
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
- Repeatedly having to ask people to repeat themselves
- Pretending to understand, only to follow up with others to get what you missed
- Finding it more difficult to hear phone conversations
- Unable to hear others talking from behind you
- Feeling like people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
While it may feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing loss didn’t happen overnight. The majority of people wait 7 years on average before accepting the problem and finding help.
So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been occurring for some time undetected. Start by making an appointment now, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.