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

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

On conference calls you move in closer. You look for facial hints, listen for inflection, tune in to body language. You try to read people’s lips. And if all else fails – you fake it.

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

The ability for a person to hear is influenced by situational factors such as background noise, contending signals, room acoustics, and how familiar they are with their setting, according to research. But for individuals who suffer from hearing loss these factors are made even more challenging.

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

  • Feeling as if people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
  • Leaning in during conversations and unconsciously cupping your hand over your ear
  • Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
  • Asking people to repeat themselves again and again… and again
  • Pretending to understand, only to later ask others about what was said
  • Having a difficult time hearing what people behind you are saying

Hearing loss probably didn’t occur overnight even though it may feel as if it did. 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 bet that it’s been going on for some time unnoticed. Hearing loss is no joke so stop kidding yourself and schedule an appointment right away.

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