You want to be polite when you’re talking to friends. You want your customers, colleagues, and boss to recognize that you’re fully involved when you’re at work. With family, you may find it less difficult to just tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to repeat what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
You need to lean in a little closer when you’re on zoom calls. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, and pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if none of that works, you nod in understanding as if you heard everything.
Maybe you’re in denial. You’re struggling to keep up because you missed most of the conversation. Life at home and tasks at work have become unnecessarily difficult and you are feeling frustrated and isolated due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
Some research shows that situational factors such as environmental acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a major influence on the way we hear. But for people who suffer from hearing loss, these factors are made even more challenging.
Some hearing loss behaviors to look out for
There are certain tell-tale habits that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing impairment is impacting your professional life:
- Asking others what you missed after pretending you heard what they were saying
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without noticing it
- Repeatedly having to ask people to repeat what they said
- Finding it harder to hear over the phone
- Feeling like people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Having a hard time hearing what people behind you are saying
Hearing loss probably didn’t take place overnight even though it may feel that way. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing impairment is something that takes most individuals at least 7 years.
That means that if your hearing loss is a problem now, it has most likely been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Start by making an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.