In conversation with friends, you like to be courteous. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your boss/colleagues/customers are talking about. With family, you might find it easier to just tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to repeat what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
You have to move in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You look closely at body language and facial cues and listen for verbal inflections. You try to read people’s lips. And if none of that works, you nod in understanding as if you heard every word.
Maybe you’re in denial. You’re struggling to catch up because you missed most of the conversation. You may not recognize it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and frustrated, making tasks at work and life at home unnecessarily overwhelming.
Some research shows that situational factors such as room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on the way we hear. These factors are relevant, but they can be far more extreme for individuals who are suffering from hearing loss.
Some hearing loss behaviors to look out for
Here are a few behaviors to help you determine whether you are, in truth, fooling yourself into thinking hearing loss is not affecting your professional and social interactions, or whether it’s just the acoustics in the environment:
- Pretending to understand, only to follow up with others to get about what was said
- Having a hard time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Leaning in When people are talking and instinctively cupping your hand over your ear
- Repeatedly having to ask people to repeat what they said
- Thinking others aren’t speaking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
Hearing loss probably didn’t take place overnight even though it could feel as if it did. The majority of people wait 7 years on average before accepting the problem and finding help.
So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can bet that it’s been occurring for some time undetected. Begin by scheduling an appointment now, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.