You want to be courteous when you’re talking with friends. You want your clients, co-workers, and boss to recognize that you’re completely involved when you’re at work. With family, you might find it less difficult to just tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to repeat what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
You need to move in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You pay attention to body language and facial clues and listen for verbal inflections. You try to read people’s lips. And if all else fails – you fake it.
Maybe you’re in denial. You’re struggling to catch up because you missed most of what was said. Life at home and tasks at work have become unjustifiably difficult and you are feeling aggravated and cut off due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
The ability for a person to hear is impacted by situational factors including background sound, competing signals, room acoustics, and how familiar they are with their surroundings, according to studies. These factors are always in play, but they can be far more extreme for people who have hearing loss.
Watch out for these behaviors
Here are a few behaviors to help you determine whether you are, in truth, fooling yourself into thinking hearing loss is not impacting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s just the acoustics in the environment:
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Having a difficult time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Asking others what was said after pretending you heard what they were saying
- Constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Leaning in during conversations and unintentionally cupping your ear with your hand
While it may feel like this crept up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing impairment didn’t occur overnight. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing impairment is something that takes most people 7 years or more.
This means that if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has probably been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Start by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.