In conversation with friends, you like to be courteous. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your supervisor/co-worker/clients are saying. With family, you may find it easier to simply tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to repeat what you missed, just a little louder, please.
On zoom calls you move in closer. You pay attention to 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 a lot of the conversation, and you’re struggling to catch up. Life at home and tasks at work have become unjustifiably overwhelming and you are feeling frustrated and cut off due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
The ability for someone to hear is impacted by situational factors like background noise, competing signals, room acoustics, and how familiar they are with their setting, according to studies. These factors are always in play, but they can be a lot worse for individuals who have hearing loss.
Watch out for these behaviors
Here are a few behaviors to help you determine whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing impairment is not impacting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in the environment:
- Constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
- Unable to hear others talking from behind you
- Asking others what you missed after pretending you heard what they were saying
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
Hearing loss probably didn’t happen overnight even though it may feel as if it did. Most people wait 7 years on average before acknowledging the problem and finding help.
So if you’re noticing symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been occurring for some time undetected. Start by scheduling an appointment now, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.