In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your manager/peers/customers are saying. 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 little louder, please.
On conference calls you move in closer. You look for facial hints, 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 straining to catch up because you missed most of the conversation. You might not recognize it, but years of progressive hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and frustrated, making projects at work and life at home needlessly difficult.
Some research shows that situational factors including room acoustics, background noise, contending 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 people who suffer from hearing loss.
Watch out for these behaviors
Here are some behaviors to help you figure out whether you are, in truth, convincing yourself that your hearing impairment isn’t affecting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in the environment:
- Asking people to repeat themselves again and again… and again
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
- Asking others what you missed after pretending to hear what they were saying
- Finding it harder to hear over the phone
- Leaning in during conversations and instinctively cupping your hand over your ear
- Having a difficult time hearing what others behind you are saying
While it might feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing loss didn’t occur overnight. Acknowledging and seeking out help for hearing impairment is something that takes most individuals at least 7 years.
So if you’re noticing symptoms of hearing loss, you can bet that it’s been going on for some time unnoticed. Hearing loss is no joke so stop kidding yourself and make an appointment now.