Hard of Hearing or Hard to Hear?

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

You want to be polite when you’re talking to friends. You want your clients, co-workers, and supervisor to see that you’re completely involved when you’re at work. You frequently find yourself needing family to repeat themselves because it was less difficult to tune out parts of the conversation that you couldn’t hear very well.

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

Maybe your in denial. You missed a lot of what was said, and you’re struggling to catch up. Life at home and projects at work have become unjustifiably overwhelming and you are feeling frustrated and isolated due to years of progressive hearing loss.

Some research shows that situational factors including room acoustics, background noise, competing signals, and situational awareness have a major influence on how we hear. These factors are relevant, but it can be far worse for individuals who have hearing loss.

Here are a few behaviors to help you figure out whether you are, in fact, fooling yourself into thinking hearing loss is not affecting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s just the acoustics in their environment:

  • Missing what people are saying when on phone conversations
  • Feeling as if people are mumbling and not speaking clearly
  • Having a hard time hearing what people behind you are saying
  • Pretending to understand, only to follow up with others to get about what was said
  • Requesting that people repeat themselves over and over again
  • Leaning in during conversations and unconsciously cupping your ear with your hand

Hearing loss probably didn’t take place overnight even though it may feel as if it did. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing loss is something that takes most people at least 7 years.

That means if your hearing loss is problematic now, it has probably been going un-addressed and neglected for some time. Hearing loss is no joke so stop kidding yourself and make an appointment right away.