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 boss/colleagues/clients are saying. You frequently find yourself asking family to repeat themselves because it was easier to tune out parts of the conversation that you weren’t able to hear very well.

On zoom calls you move in closer. You look for facial cues, listen for inflection, pay close attention to body language. You attempt to read people’s lips. And if everything else fails – you fake it.

Don’t fool yourself. You missed lots of what was said, and you’re struggling to keep up. You might not know it, but years of cumulative hearing loss can have you feeling cut off and discouraged, making projects at work and life at home unnecessarily overwhelming.

The ability for someone to hear is influenced by situational variables including background noise, competing signals, room acoustics, and how acquainted they are with their surroundings, according to studies. These factors are relevant, but it can be a lot worse for individuals who are suffering from hearing loss.

Here are some behaviors to help you identify whether you are, in truth, convincing yourself that your hearing loss isn’t impacting your social and professional interactions, or whether it’s just the acoustics in their environment:

  • Finding it more difficult to hear over the phone
  • Having a difficult time hearing what people behind you are saying
  • Cupping your ear with your hand or leaning in close to the person talking without realizing it
  • Thinking people aren’t talking clearly when all you can hear is mumbling
  • Asking others what was said after pretending you heard what someone was saying
  • Constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves

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

That means if your hearing loss is an issue now, it has most likely been going un-addressed and untreated for some time. Hearing loss is no joke so stop fooling yourself and make an appointment right away.

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