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 involved, even enthralled with what your supervisor/peers/clients are talking about. With family, you may find it less difficult to just tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to fill in what you missed, just a little louder, please.

You have to lean in a little closer when you’re on zoom calls. You watch for facial hints, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You attempt to read people’s lips. And if all else fails – you fake it.

Maybe your in denial. Your struggling to catch up because you missed most of what was said. You might not know it, but years of progressive hearing loss can have you feeling cut off and frustrated, making projects at work and life at home unnecessarily difficult.

Some research shows that situational factors like room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on how a person hears. But for people who suffer from hearing loss these factors are made even more challenging.

Here are a few habits to help you identify whether you are, in truth, fooling yourself into thinking hearing impairment isn’t impacting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in their environment:

  • Pretending to understand, only to later ask others about what was said
  • Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without noticing it
  • Not able to hear people talking behind you
  • Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
  • Feeling as if people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
  • Requesting that people repeat themselves again and again… and again

While it may feel like this snuck up on you in an all-of-a-sudden way, chances are your hearing impairment didn’t happen overnight. Most people wait 7 years on average before accepting the problem and seeking help.

So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been occurring for some time undetected. So start by scheduling an appointment now, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.

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