In conversation with friends, you want to be courteous. At work, you want to appear involved, even enthralled with what your boss/peers/customers are talking about. With family, you might find it easier to just tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to fill in what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
On conference calls you lean in closer. You watch for facial cues, listen for inflection, and pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod in understanding as if you heard every word.
Maybe you’re in denial. You’re straining to catch up because you missed most of what was said. Life at home and projects at work have become unnecessarily overwhelming and you are feeling aggravated and isolated due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
Some research shows that situational factors such as environmental acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on how a person hears. These factors are always in play, but they can be far more severe for individuals who have hearing loss.
Watch out for these behaviors
There are certain tell-tale habits that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is impacting your social and professional life:
- Asking others what you missed after pretending you heard what they were saying
- Unable to hear people talking from behind you
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Leaning in When people are talking and unconsciously cupping your hand over your ear
While it may feel like this crept up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing loss didn’t happen overnight. Most people wait 7 years on average before accepting the problem and seeking help.
That means that if your hearing loss is a problem now, it has probably been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Hearing loss is no joke so stop kidding yourself and schedule an appointment right away.