You want to be courteous when you are talking with friends. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your manager/peers/clients are saying. You regularly find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the discussion that you couldn’t hear very well.
On zoom calls you lean in closer. You look closely at body language and facial clues and listen for verbal inflections. You read lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod as if you heard everything.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed lots of the conversation, and you’re struggling to catch up. Life at home and projects at work have become unjustifiably difficult and you are feeling aggravated and cut off due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
Some research shows that situational factors including room acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and environmental awareness have a major influence on the way we hear. These factors are always in play, but it can be much worse for individuals who are suffering from hearing loss.
There are certain tell-tale behaviors that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is affecting your professional life:
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Pretending to comprehend, only to later ask others what you missed
- Having a hard time hearing what others behind you are saying
- Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
- Repeatedly having to ask people to repeat what they said
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without noticing it
Hearing loss probably didn’t happen overnight even though it might feel that way. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before acknowledging the issue and finding help.
So if you’re noticing symptoms of hearing loss, you can bet that it’s been going on for some time undetected. Hearing loss is no joke so stop fooling yourself and make an appointment right away.