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

In conversation with friends, you like to be polite. At work, you want to appear involved, even enthralled with what your manager/peers/customers are saying. With family, you may find it easier to simply tune out the conversation and ask the person near you to fill in what you missed, just a bit louder, please.

You have to move in a little closer when you’re on conference calls. You pay attention to body language and facial cues and listen for verbal inflections. You try to read people’s lips. And if none of that works, you nod as if you heard every word.

Don’t fool yourself. You missed a lot of what was said, and you’re straining to catch up. You may not realize it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling cut off and discouraged, making tasks at work and life at home needlessly overwhelming.

The ability for a person to hear is impacted by situational variables like background noise, contending signals, room acoustics, and how familiar they are with their environment, according to research. These factors are relevant, but it can be a lot worse for people who are suffering from hearing loss.

There are certain tell-tale habits that will raise your awareness of whether you’re in denial about how your hearing loss is impacting your social and professional life:

  • Cupping your hands over your ear or leaning in close to the person who is speaking without noticing it
  • Repeatedly needing to ask people to repeat what they said
  • Unable to hear people talking behind you
  • Asking others what was said after pretending you heard what someone was saying
  • Thinking people aren’t talking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
  • Finding it more difficult to hear over the phone

While it may feel like this crept up on you suddenly, chances are your hearing loss didn’t occur overnight. Acknowledging and getting help for hearing loss is something that takes most people 7 years or more.

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

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