In conversation with friends, you like to be polite. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your supervisor/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 weren’t able to hear very well.
On conference calls you move in closer. You look for facial hints, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You try to read people’s lips. And if none of that works, you nod in understanding as if you heard everything.
Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re struggling to keep up. You might not know it, but years of progressive hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and discouraged, making projects at work and life at home unnecessarily difficult.
The ability for a person to hear is impacted by situational variables including background sound, contending signals, room acoustics, and how comfortable they are with their setting, according to studies. These factors are always in play, but it can be far more extreme for individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
There are some tell-tale habits that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is impacting your professional life:
- Finding it harder to hear over the phone
- Requesting that people repeat themselves again and again… and again
- Pretending to understand, only to later ask others what you missed
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Having a difficult time hearing what others behind you are saying
- Leaning in during conversations and unintentionally cupping your hand over your ear
Hearing loss probably didn’t occur overnight even though it might feel as if it did. Most people wait 7 years on average before acknowledging the issue and seeking help.
So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can bet that it’s been occurring for some time unnoticed. So begin by scheduling an appointment right away, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.