You want to be polite when you are talking with friends. You want your clients, colleagues, and manager to recognize that you’re completely engaged when you’re at work. You often find yourself needing family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the conversation that you couldn’t hear very well.
You need to move in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You watch for facial hints, listen for inflection, and pay close attention to body language. You attempt to read people’s 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 keep up because you missed most of what was said. Life at home and projects at work have become unnecessarily difficult and you are feeling aggravated and isolated due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
According to some studies, 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 relevant, but they can be a lot worse for individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
Some hearing loss behaviors to watch out for
Here are some behaviors to help you identify whether you are, in truth, fooling yourself into thinking hearing impairment is not impacting your professional and social interactions, or whether it’s just the acoustics in the environment:
- Asking others what was said after pretending you heard what they were saying
- Finding it more difficult to hear phone conversations
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
- Asking people to repeat themselves again and again… and again
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Having a difficult time hearing what others behind you are saying
While it may feel like this crept up on you suddenly, more than likely your hearing loss didn’t happen overnight. Acknowledging and seeking out help for hearing impairment is something that takes most people 7 years or more.
That means that if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has probably been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Hearing loss is no joke so stop kidding yourself and make an appointment right away.