In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. At work, you want to appear involved, even enthralled with what your supervisor/co-worker/customers 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 fill in what you missed, just a little louder, please.
On conference calls you move in closer. You look closely at body language and facial clues and listen for verbal inflections. You read lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod as if you heard every word.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed lots of the conversation, and you’re straining to catch up. Life at home and projects at work have become unnecessarily difficult and you are feeling frustrated and isolated due to years of progressive hearing loss.
The ability for someone to hear is influenced by situational factors including background sound, competing signals, room acoustics, and how acquainted they are with their surroundings, according to research. These factors are always in play, but they can be a lot more extreme for individuals who are suffering from hearing loss.
Watch out for these behaviors
Here are some habits to help you determine whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing loss is not impacting your social and professional relationships, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in the environment:
- Asking others what was said after pretending you heard what they were saying
- Requesting that repeat themselves again and again… and again
- Having a hard time hearing what others behind you are saying
- Feeling like people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
- Finding it harder to hear over the phone
While it might feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, more than likely your hearing impairment didn’t occur overnight. Acknowledging and getting 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 be sure that it’s been occurring for some time undetected. Begin by making an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.