In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your supervisor/colleagues/customers 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 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 missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re struggling to keep up. Life at home and tasks at work have become unjustifiably difficult and you are feeling frustrated and cut off due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
The ability for a person to hear is influenced by situational variables such as background sound, competing signals, room acoustics, and how comfortable they are with their setting, according to studies. But for individuals who suffer from hearing loss, these factors are made even more difficult.
Watch out for these behaviors
Here are a few behaviors to help you identify whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing loss is not impacting your professional and social interactions, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in the environment:
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person talking without noticing it
- Feeling like people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Asking people to repeat themselves again and again… and again
- Asking others what you missed after pretending you heard what they were saying
- Unable to hear others talking from behind you
- Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
Hearing loss most likely didn’t occur overnight even though it might feel that way. Acknowledging and seeking out help for hearing loss is something that takes most individuals 7 years or more.
So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can bet that it’s been going on for some time unnoticed. Start by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.