In conversation with friends, you like to be courteous. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your supervisor/colleagues/clients are saying. You regularly find yourself needing family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the conversation that you weren’t able to hear very well.
On conference calls you lean in closer. You watch for facial hints, listen for inflection, and pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if everything else fails – you fake it.
Maybe you’re in denial. You missed lots of what was said, and you’re straining to keep up. You might not recognize it, but years of progressive hearing loss can have you feeling cut off and frustrated, making projects at work and life at home unnecessarily overwhelming.
Some research shows that situational factors such as environmental acoustics, background noise, contending signals, and situational awareness have a major influence on the way a person hears. These factors are always in play, but they can be much worse for individuals who suffer from hearing loss.
Look out for these behaviors
There are some revealing behaviors that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing impairment is affecting your professional life:
- Pretending to understand, only to follow up with others to get about what was said
- Leaning in during conversations and instinctively cupping your ear with your hand
- Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
- Having a difficult time hearing what others behind you are saying
- Missing important parts of phone conversations
- Requesting that repeat themselves over and over again
Hearing loss probably didn’t take place overnight even though it could feel that way. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before acknowledging the issue and seeking help.
This means that if your hearing loss is problematic now, it has probably been going unaddressed and untreated for some time. Hearing loss is no joke so stop fooling yourself and make an appointment now.