In conversation with friends, you want to be courteous. At work, you want to appear involved, even enthralled with what your manager/colleagues/customers are saying. You often find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was less difficult to tune out parts of the conversation that you couldn’t hear very well.
On conference calls you lean in closer. You look closely at body language and facial cues and listen for verbal inflections. You attempt to read people’s lips. And if none of that works, you nod as if you heard every word.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re straining to keep up. Life at home and projects at work have become unnecessarily overwhelming and you are feeling aggravated and isolated due to years of progressive hearing loss.
Some research shows that situational factors such as room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and situational awareness have a major influence on how a person hears. But for people who suffer from hearing loss, these factors are made even more difficult.
Look out for these behaviors
There are some revealing behaviors that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing impairment is affecting your professional life:
- Having a difficult time hearing what people behind you are saying
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person talking without noticing it
- Thinking people aren’t speaking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
- Constantly having to ask people to repeat what they said
- Pretending to comprehend, only to follow up with others to get what you missed
- Finding it harder to hear over the phone
Hearing loss most likely didn’t take place overnight even though it may feel as if it did. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing loss is something that takes most people 7 years or more.
This means that if your hearing loss is a problem now, it has most likely been going unaddressed and neglected for some time. Begin by making an appointment now, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.