You want to be courteous when you are talking to friends. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your supervisor/peers/clients are saying. You frequently find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the discussion that you weren’t able to hear very well.
On zoom calls you lean in closer. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, and pay close attention to body language. You attempt to read people’s lips. And if everything else fails – you fake it.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed lots of the conversation, and you’re struggling to keep up. You might not know it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling cut off and frustrated, making tasks at work and life at home unnecessarily overwhelming.
The ability for someone to hear is influenced by situational variables including background sound, contending signals, room acoustics, and how familiar they are with their environment, according to studies. These factors are always in play, but they can be far worse for people who are suffering from hearing loss.
Look out for these behaviors
Here are some behaviors to help you identify whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing loss isn’t affecting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s just the acoustics in the environment:
- Repeatedly having to ask people to repeat what they said
- Thinking people aren’t talking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
- Leaning in during conversations and unintentionally cupping your ear with your hand
- Finding it more difficult to hear over the phone
- Pretending to comprehend, only to follow up with others to get about what was said
- Having a difficult time hearing what people behind you are saying
Hearing loss most likely didn’t occur overnight even though it might feel as if it did. Acknowledging and seeking out help for hearing loss is something that takes most people 7 years or more.
So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been going on for some time unnoticed. Begin by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.