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

In conversation with friends, you want to be courteous. At work, you want to look involved, even enthralled with what your boss/co-worker/clients are talking about. With family, you may find it less difficult to just tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to fill in what you missed, just a little louder, please.

You have to move in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You look for facial hints, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You read lips. And if none of that works, you nod in understanding as if you heard every word.

Maybe your in denial. You missed lots of the conversation, and you’re straining to keep up. Life at home and projects at work have become unjustifiably overwhelming and you are feeling frustrated and cut off due to years of progressive hearing loss.

Some research shows that situational factors including environmental acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and situational awareness have a strong influence on the way a person hears. These factors are always in play, but it can be a lot more severe for individuals who are suffering from hearing loss.

Here are some behaviors to help you identify whether you are, in truth, fooling yourself into thinking hearing impairment is not impacting your professional and social relationships, or whether it’s simply the acoustics in their environment:

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

Hearing loss most likely didn’t occur overnight even though it could feel that way. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before acknowledging the problem and seeking help.

So if you’re detecting symptoms of hearing loss, you can be sure that it’s been going on for some time unnoticed. So begin by making an appointment now, and stop fooling yourself, hearing loss is no joke.

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