You want to be courteous when you are talking to friends. You want your customers, co-workers, and supervisor to recognize that you’re completely involved when you’re at work. You frequently find yourself needing family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the discussion that you weren’t able to hear very well.
On zoom calls you move in closer. You look closely at body language and facial clues and listen for verbal inflections. You read lips. And if everything else fails – you fake it.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed lots of what was said, and you’re struggling to keep up. You might not realize it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and frustrated, making projects at work and life at home needlessly overwhelming.
According to some studies, situational factors like room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and environmental awareness have a strong influence on the way we hear. These factors are always in play, but it can be much worse for people who have hearing loss.
Here are some habits to help you figure out whether you are, in truth, convincing yourself that your hearing impairment is not affecting your social and professional relationships, or whether it’s just the acoustics in their environment:
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without realizing it
- Asking people to repeat themselves again and again… and again
- Having a hard time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Pretending to comprehend, only to follow up with others to get about what was said
Hearing loss probably didn’t take place overnight even though it might feel as if it did. Most people wait an average of 7 years before accepting the issue and seeking help.
This means if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has probably been going un-addressed and untreated for some time. So start by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.