Hard of Hearing or Hard to Hear?

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

You want to be courteous when you are talking to friends. At work, you want to look engaged, even enthralled with what your supervisor/colleagues/customers are saying. With family, you may find it easier to just tune out the conversation and ask the person next to you to repeat what you missed, just a little louder, please.

On conference calls you lean in closer. You look closely at body language and facial clues and listen for verbal inflections. You read lips. And if all else fails – you fake it.

Maybe your in denial. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re struggling to catch up. Life at home and projects at work have become unnecessarily difficult and you are feeling frustrated and cut off due to years of cumulative hearing loss.

According to some studies, situational factors such as environmental acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and environmental awareness have a major influence on how a person hears. These factors are relevant, but it can be a lot worse for individuals who have hearing loss.

Here are a few habits to help you figure out whether you are, in fact, convincing yourself that your hearing loss isn’t impacting your professional and social interactions, or whether it’s just the acoustics in their environment:

  • Leaning in during conversations and unconsciously cupping your ear with your hand
  • Having a hard time hearing what people behind you are saying
  • Repeatedly needing to ask people to repeat themselves
  • Finding it harder to hear phone conversations
  • Thinking people aren’t talking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
  • Asking others what was said after pretending you heard what someone was saying

Hearing loss probably didn’t take place overnight even though it might feel as if it did. The majority of people wait an average of 7 years before accepting the issue and seeking help.

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