In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. At work, you want to appear involved, even enthralled with what your supervisor/peers/clients are saying. With family, you might find it easier to just tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to fill in what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
On zoom calls you move in closer. You pay attention to body language and facial cues and listen for verbal inflections. You read lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod in understanding as if you heard everything.
Maybe you’re in denial. You missed lots of the conversation, and you’re straining to keep up. You may not realize it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and discouraged, making projects at work and life at home needlessly difficult.
The ability for a person to hear is impacted by situational factors including background sound, competing signals, room acoustics, and how comfortable they are with their setting, according to studies. These factors are always in play, but they can be far more extreme for people who are suffering from hearing loss.
Some hearing loss behaviors to look out for
Here are some habits to help you figure out whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing loss is not impacting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s just the acoustics in the environment:
- Finding it more difficult to hear over the phone
- Asking people to repeat themselves over and over again
- Having a hard time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without realizing it
- Thinking others aren’t talking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
- Pretending to understand, only to follow up with others to get about what was said
While it might feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing impairment didn’t occur overnight. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing loss is something that takes most people 7 years or more.
So if you’re noticing symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been going on for some time undetected. Hearing loss is no joke so stop fooling yourself and make an appointment right away.