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

You want to be polite when you’re talking with friends. At work, you want to look engaged, even enthralled with what your supervisor/colleagues/clients are saying. You frequently find yourself needing family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the conversation that you couldn’t hear very well.

You need 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 try to read people’s lips. And if that doesn’t work, you nod in understanding as if you heard every word.

Maybe your in denial. You missed lots of what was said, and you’re struggling to catch up. You may not realize it, but years of progressive hearing loss can have you feeling isolated and discouraged, making tasks at work and life at home needlessly overwhelming.

The ability for a person to hear is impacted by situational factors such as background sound, competing signals, room acoustics, and how acquainted they are with their setting, according to research. But for individuals who have hearing loss these factors are made even more challenging.

Here are some habits to help you determine whether you are, in truth, convincing yourself that your hearing impairment is not impacting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in their environment:

  • Unable to hear others talking from behind you
  • Feeling as if people are mumbling and not talking clearly
  • Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
  • Constantly having to ask people to repeat what they said
  • Asking others what you missed after pretending you heard what someone was saying
  • Finding it harder to hear over the phone

Hearing loss most likely didn’t take place overnight even though it may feel as if it did. The majority of people wait 7 years on average before acknowledging the problem and finding help.

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

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