In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your boss/co-worker/customers are talking about. You regularly find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the conversation that you weren’t able to hear very well.
You need to lean in a little closer when you’re on zoom calls. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod as if you heard every word.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed lots of the conversation, and you’re struggling to keep up. Life at home and tasks at work have become unnecessarily difficult and you are feeling aggravated and isolated due to years of progressive hearing loss.
Some research shows that situational factors including room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and situational awareness have a major influence on the way a person hears. These factors are relevant, but it can be a lot more extreme for people who suffer from hearing loss.
There are some revealing habits that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is impacting your professional life:
- Asking others what was said after pretending to hear what someone was saying
- Asking people to repeat themselves over and over again
- Thinking people aren’t talking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Having a difficult time hearing what others behind you are saying
- Leaning in When people are talking and unconsciously cupping your ear with your hand
Hearing loss probably didn’t happen overnight even though it could feel that way. Acknowledging and seeking out help for hearing loss is something that takes most individuals at least 7 years.
So if you’re noticing symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been going on for some time undetected. So start by making an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.