You want to be polite when you are talking to friends. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your boss/co-worker/clients are talking about. With family, you might find it less difficult to simply tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to fill in what you missed, just a bit louder, please.
On conference calls you lean in closer. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, and tune in to body language. You read lips. And if none of that works, you nod in understanding as if you heard every word.
Don’t fool yourself. You’re struggling to keep up because you missed most of what was said. You may not recognize it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling cut off and discouraged, making projects at work and life at home needlessly difficult.
Some research shows that situational factors including room acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and environmental awareness have a major influence on how we hear. But for individuals who suffer from hearing loss, these factors are made even more difficult.
Look out for these behaviors
There are certain revealing behaviors that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is affecting your professional life:
- Pretending to understand, only to follow up with others to get what you missed
- Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
- Having a difficult time hearing what others behind you are saying
- Thinking people aren’t speaking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
- Leaning in during conversations and unconsciously cupping your ear with your hand
- Asking people to repeat themselves over and over again
Hearing loss most likely didn’t take place overnight even though it might feel that way. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing loss is something that takes most people at least 7 years.
So if you’re noticing symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been occurring for some time undetected. Begin by making an appointment now, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.