In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your boss/co-worker/clients are saying. You frequently find yourself needing family to repeat themselves because it was less difficult to tune out parts of the discussion that you weren’t able to hear very well.
On zoom calls you lean in closer. You pay attention to 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 everything.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of what was said, and you’re struggling to catch up. You might not recognize it, but years of progressive hearing loss can have you feeling cut off and discouraged, making tasks at work and life at home unnecessarily overwhelming.
According to some studies, situational factors including room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and situational awareness have a major influence on how a person hears. These factors are relevant, but they can be much worse for people who are suffering from hearing loss.
Some hearing loss behaviors to look out for
There are certain tell-tale behaviors that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing impairment is affecting your professional life:
- Pretending to comprehend, only to follow up with others to get about what was said
- Finding it harder to hear over the phone
- Unable to hear others talking from behind you
- Repeatedly needing to ask people to repeat themselves
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
- Leaning in during conversations and unintentionally cupping your hand over your ear
While it might feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing impairment didn’t occur overnight. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before acknowledging the issue and seeking help.
This means that if your hearing loss is problematic now, it has most likely been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Hearing loss is no joke so stop fooling yourself and schedule an appointment now.