Woman leans into zoom call because she is having trouble hearing.

In conversation with friends, you want to be polite. At work, you want to appear engaged, even enthralled with what your boss/colleagues/clients are saying. With family, you might find it less difficult to just tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to repeat what you missed, just a little louder, please.

You have to move 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 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. Your struggling to keep up because you missed most of the conversation. You may not realize 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 like environmental acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on the way a person hears. But for individuals who have hearing loss these factors are made even more challenging.

Here are some habits to help you figure out whether you are, in truth, fooling yourself into thinking hearing impairment isn’t affecting your social and professional relationships, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in their environment:

  • Unable to hear people talking behind you
  • Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
  • Pretending to comprehend, only to follow up with others to get what you missed
  • Leaning in When people are talking and unintentionally cupping your hand over your ear
  • Requesting that people repeat themselves again and again… and again
  • Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly

While it may feel like this snuck up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing loss didn’t occur overnight. The majority of people wait 7 years on average before accepting the issue and finding help.

This means if your hearing loss is a problem now, it has most likely been going un-addressed and neglected for some time. So begin by scheduling an appointment now, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.

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