You want to be polite when you’re talking to friends. At work, you want to appear involved, even enthralled with what your boss/co-worker/clients are saying. With family, you might find it easier to just tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to repeat what you missed, just a little louder, please.
You have to move in a little closer when you’re on zoom calls. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You try to read people’s lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod in understanding as if you heard every word.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re struggling to catch up. You might not know it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and frustrated, making tasks at work and life at home needlessly difficult.
Some research shows that situational factors like room acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on the way we hear. These factors are relevant, but it can be far more severe for individuals who are suffering from hearing loss.
Here are a few habits to help you figure out whether you are, in truth, convincing yourself that your hearing loss is not impacting your professional and social relationships, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in their environment:
- Leaning in When people are talking and unintentionally cupping your ear with your hand
- Repeatedly having to ask people to repeat what they said
- Having a difficult time hearing what others behind you are saying
- Asking others what you missed after pretending to hear what someone was saying
- Missing what people are saying when on phone conversations
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
While it might feel like this crept up on you in an all-of-a-sudden way, chances are your hearing impairment didn’t happen overnight. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before acknowledging the problem and seeking help.
That means if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has most likely been going un-addressed and neglected for some time. Hearing loss is no joke so stop kidding yourself and make an appointment now.