In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. You want your customers, co-workers, and boss to recognize that you’re fully involved when you’re at work. With family, you may find it less difficult to simply 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 lean in closer. You watch for facial hints, listen for inflection, and pay close attention to body language. You try to read people’s lips. And if none of that works, you nod in understanding as if you heard everything.
Don’t fool yourself. You’re straining to keep up because you missed most of the conversation. Life at home and tasks at work have become unjustifiably overwhelming and you are feeling frustrated and isolated due to years of progressive hearing loss.
According to some studies, situational factors like room acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and environmental awareness have a strong influence on the way we hear. These factors are relevant, but they can be much worse for people who suffer from hearing loss.
Look out for these behaviors
There are some tell-tale habits that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is affecting your professional life:
- Repeatedly needing to ask people to repeat what they said
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
- Thinking others aren’t speaking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
- Asking others what was said after pretending to hear what they were saying
- Having a hard time hearing what people behind you are saying
Hearing loss most likely didn’t occur overnight even though it might feel as if it did. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before acknowledging the problem and finding help.
So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can bet that it’s been going on for some time unnoticed. Start by making an appointment now, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.