You want to be courteous when you’re talking to friends. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your manager/peers/clients are saying. With family, you might find it easier to simply tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to fill in what you missed, just a little louder, please.
You have to lean in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, and pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if all else fails – you fake it.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re straining to catch up. Life at home and tasks at work have become unjustifiably overwhelming and you are feeling aggravated and cut off due to years of progressive hearing loss.
Some research shows that situational factors including room acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on how a person hears. These factors are relevant, but they can be a lot more extreme for people who suffer from hearing loss.
Look out for these behaviors
There are some revealing behaviors that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is impacting your professional life:
- Pretending to comprehend, only to follow up with others to get what you missed
- Thinking people aren’t speaking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
- Missing what people are saying when on phone conversations
- Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
- Unable to hear people talking behind you
- Constantly having to ask people to repeat what they said
While it might feel like this crept up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing impairment didn’t occur overnight. Acknowledging and seeking out help for hearing impairment is something that takes most individuals at least 7 years.
So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been occurring for some time undetected. Begin by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.