In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your manager/co-worker/customers are saying. You frequently find yourself asking 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.
You have to lean in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You look closely at 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 every word.
Don’t fool yourself. Your struggling to catch up because you missed most of the conversation. Life at home and tasks at work have become unjustifiably overwhelming and you are feeling frustrated and isolated due to years of cumulative hearing loss.
According to some studies, situational factors such as environmental acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on the way a person hears. But for people who have hearing loss these factors are made even more difficult.
There are certain tell-tale habits that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is impacting your professional life:
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Asking people to repeat themselves over and over again
- Asking others what was said after pretending to hear what someone was saying
- Unable to hear others talking from behind you
While it might feel like this crept up on you in an all-of-a-sudden way, more than likely your hearing impairment didn’t happen overnight. Most people wait an average of 7 years before accepting the problem and seeking help.
So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can bet that it’s been going on for some time undetected. So begin by scheduling an appointment now, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.