You want to be courteous when you are talking to friends. At work, you want to look engaged, even enthralled with what your supervisor/peers/clients are saying. With family, you might find it easier to simply tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to fill in what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
On conference calls you lean in closer. You look closely at body language and facial cues and listen for verbal inflections. You read 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 struggling to catch up. Life at home and projects at work have become unjustifiably difficult and you are feeling aggravated and cut off due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
The ability for someone to hear is impacted by situational variables such as background noise, competing signals, room acoustics, and how acquainted they are with their setting, according to research. These factors are relevant, but they can be far more extreme for individuals who are suffering from hearing loss.
Look out for these behaviors
Here are a few habits to help you figure out whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing loss isn’t impacting your social and professional relationships, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in the environment:
- Leaning in during conversations and unintentionally cupping your hand over your ear
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Missing what people are saying when on phone conversations
- Asking others what was said after pretending to hear what they were saying
- Unable to hear others talking from behind you
- Constantly having to ask people to repeat what they said
While it might feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing loss didn’t occur overnight. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before acknowledging the problem and finding help.
So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can bet that it’s been going on for some time undetected. Begin by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.