You want to be polite when you are talking to friends. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your manager/peers/customers are talking about. You frequently find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the discussion that you couldn’t hear very well.
You need to lean in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You watch for facial hints, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if all else fails – you fake it.
Don’t fool yourself. Your straining to catch up because you missed most of what was said. You might not recognize it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and discouraged, making projects at work and life at home unnecessarily difficult.
According to some studies, situational factors such as environmental acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a major influence on the way a person hears. But for people who have hearing loss these factors are made even more difficult.
Here are a few habits to help you identify whether you are, in truth, convincing yourself that your hearing loss is not affecting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in their environment:
- Leaning in When people are talking and unintentionally cupping your ear with your hand
- Not able to hear others talking from behind you
- Asking others what was said after pretending you heard what someone was saying
- Finding it more difficult to hear phone conversations
- Thinking others aren’t talking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
- Constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves
While it may feel like this crept up on you in an all-of-a-sudden way, more than likely your hearing loss didn’t occur overnight. 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 be sure that it’s been going on for some time unnoticed. So start by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.