You want to be polite when you’re talking with friends. At work, you want to look engaged, even enthralled with what your supervisor/peers/clients are talking about. With family, you may find it easier to simply tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to fill in what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
You need to lean in a little closer when you’re on zoom calls. You watch for facial hints, listen for inflection, tune in to body language. You read lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod in understanding as if you heard everything.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re struggling to keep up. You may not know it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling cut off and discouraged, making tasks at work and life at home unnecessarily overwhelming.
The ability for a person to hear is influenced by situational factors like background sound, competing signals, room acoustics, and how acquainted they are with their surroundings, according to research. But for individuals who have hearing loss these factors are made even more difficult.
There are some revealing behaviors that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing impairment is affecting your social and professional life:
- Having a difficult time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without noticing it
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Asking people to repeat themselves over and over again
- Asking others what you missed after pretending you heard what someone was saying
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
Hearing loss probably didn’t happen overnight even though it might feel that way. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing impairment is something that takes most people 7 years or more.
That means if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has most likely been going un-addressed and untreated for some time. So start by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.