You want to be polite when you’re talking to friends. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your supervisor/peers/clients are talking about. With family, you may find it less difficult to just tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to repeat what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
On conference calls you lean in closer. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if none of that works, you nod as if you heard every word.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re struggling to catch up. Life at home and projects at work have become unjustifiably difficult and you are feeling frustrated and cut off due to years of progressive hearing loss.
The ability for someone to hear is impacted by situational variables including background noise, contending signals, room acoustics, and how acquainted they are with their environment, according to research. These factors are always in play, but it can be much more extreme for individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
There are some revealing behaviors that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing impairment is affecting your professional life:
- Constantly needing to ask people to repeat what they said
- Not able to hear people talking behind you
- Thinking others aren’t talking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
- Leaning in during conversations and unconsciously cupping your ear with your hand
- Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
- Pretending to understand, only to follow up with others to get what you missed
While it may feel like this crept up on you suddenly, more than likely your hearing loss didn’t happen overnight. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing loss is something that takes most people 7 years or more.
That means if your hearing loss is a problem now, it has most likely been going un-addressed and neglected for some time. So start by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.