You want to be polite when you’re talking with friends. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your supervisor/co-worker/customers are talking about. With family, you may find it easier to simply tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to repeat what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
On conference calls you lean in closer. You look for facial hints, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You try to read people’s lips. And if all else fails – you fake it.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed lots of the conversation, and you’re straining to keep up. Life at home and tasks at work have become unjustifiably overwhelming and you are feeling frustrated and isolated due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
The ability for a person to hear is influenced by situational factors like background sound, competing signals, room acoustics, and how familiar they are with their surroundings, according to research. These factors are always in play, but it can be far worse for people who are suffering from hearing loss.
There are certain revealing habits that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing impairment is affecting your professional life:
- Finding it more difficult to hear phone conversations
- Asking people to repeat themselves over and over again
- Thinking others aren’t speaking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
- Asking others what you missed after pretending you heard what someone was saying
- Leaning in during conversations and instinctively cupping your hand over your ear
- Not able to hear people talking from behind you
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 impairment is something that takes most individuals at least 7 years.
This means if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has most likely been going un-addressed and neglected for some time. So begin by making an appointment right away, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.