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

In conversation with friends, you want to be courteous. You want your clients, co-workers, and manager to recognize that you’re totally engaged when you’re at work. With family, you might 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 bit louder, please.

You have to lean in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You watch for facial cues, listen for inflection, tune in to body language. You read lips. And if all else fails – you fake it.

Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of the conversation, and you’re straining to keep up. You might not recognize 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.

The ability for someone to hear is impacted by situational factors including background noise, contending signals, room acoustics, and how familiar they are with their surroundings, according to studies. But for individuals who suffer from hearing loss these factors are made even more difficult.

There are certain revealing habits that will alert you to whether you’re in denial about how your hearing impairment is affecting your professional life:

  • Not able to hear others talking from behind you
  • Missing important parts of phone conversations
  • Thinking people aren’t speaking clearly when all you seem to hear is mumbling
  • Pretending to understand, only to follow up with others to get about what was said
  • Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person talking without noticing it
  • Requesting that people repeat themselves again and again… and again

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

This means if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has probably been going un-addressed and neglected for some time. So start by scheduling an appointment now, and stop kidding yourself, hearing loss is no joke.

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