You want to be polite when you are talking to friends. At work, you want to appear involved, even enthralled with what your manager/co-worker/customers are talking about. With family, you may find it easier to just tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to repeat what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
On zoom calls you move in closer. You look closely at body language and facial cues and listen for verbal inflections. You read lips. And if all else fails – you fake it.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed lots of what was said, and you’re struggling to catch up. You might not know it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and discouraged, making projects at work and life at home unnecessarily overwhelming.
Some research shows that situational factors such as environmental acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and environmental awareness have a strong influence on how a person hears. But for people who have hearing loss, these factors are made even more difficult.
Look out for these behaviors
There are some tell-tale behaviors that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is impacting your social and professional life:
- Having a hard time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Asking people to repeat themselves again and again… and again
- Asking others what was said after pretending to hear what they were saying
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person talking without noticing it
- Feeling like people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
- Finding it harder to hear over the phone
Hearing loss most likely didn’t occur overnight even though it could feel that way. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before accepting the issue and finding help.
This means that if your hearing loss is a problem now, it has most likely been going unaddressed and neglected for some time. Begin by making an appointment right away, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.