You want to be polite when you’re talking to friends. You want your clients, colleagues, and manager to see that you’re fully engaged when you’re at work. With family, you might find it less difficult to just tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to repeat what you missed, just a little 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 that doesn’t work, you nod in understanding as if you heard every word.
Maybe your in denial. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re straining to catch up. You might not know it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling cut off and frustrated, making tasks at work and life at home needlessly overwhelming.
According to some studies, situational factors including environmental acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on the way we hear. These factors are always in play, but it can be far worse for individuals who have hearing loss.
Here are a few habits to help you figure out whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing impairment isn’t affecting your professional and social interactions, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in their environment:
- Requesting that people repeat themselves again and again… and again
- Finding it more difficult to hear phone conversations
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without realizing it
- Thinking people aren’t speaking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
- Not able to hear others talking behind you
- Pretending to comprehend, only to follow up with others to get about what was said
Hearing loss probably didn’t occur 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.
So if you’re noticing symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been going on for some time unnoticed. So begin by making an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.