You want to be polite when you are talking to friends. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your supervisor/peers/clients are talking about. You frequently find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was less difficult to tune out parts of the conversation that you couldn’t hear very well.
On zoom calls you lean in closer. You look closely at body language and facial cues and listen for verbal inflections. You read lips. And if everything else fails – you fake it.
Don’t fool yourself. You’re straining to keep up because you missed most of what was said. Life at home and tasks at work have become unnecessarily overwhelming and you are feeling frustrated and isolated due to years of progressive hearing loss.
According to some studies, situational factors such as room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and environmental awareness have a major influence on the way we hear. These factors are always in play, but they can be a lot more severe for individuals who have hearing loss.
Watch out for these behaviors
Here are some behaviors to help you figure out whether you are, in truth, convincing yourself that your hearing impairment is not affecting your professional and social relationships, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in the environment:
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without noticing it
- Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
- Asking others what was said after pretending you heard what they were saying
- Feeling like people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Unable to hear people talking behind you
- Asking people to repeat themselves again and again… and again
While it might feel like this crept up on you suddenly, more than likely your hearing loss didn’t happen overnight. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before accepting the problem and finding help.
That means that if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has most likely been going unaddressed and neglected for some time. Start by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.