Does your colleague claim they’ve got hearing loss, but some days they seem to hear ok? Do you suspect they’re deliberately ignoring you, or feel it’s all a ploy for them to avoid parts of their job they don’t like?
Sadly hearing loss doesn’t come and go. But our ability to process the sounds we hear can vary significantly from day-to-day. So, here are some reasons why it might seem like we’re ignoring you (sorry, we don’t mean to…):
We’ve got a cold. Just as you find it hard to hear when your head’s full of gunk, so do we. But for us it adds another layer of hearing loss on top of what we already have. So we might seem more deaf than usual.
We’ve had a bad night’s sleep. Tiredness affects our ability to process sound and read lips, so waking up tired is a sure-fire recipe for struggling to hear that day.
We’ve just come out of a meeting/networking. Concentrating on speech and lip shapes for any length of time is tiring for our ears, our eyes and our brains. Give us some time out after an intense period of concentration and normal service should resume fairly promptly.
We’re stressed. Maybe we’re working to a tight deadline, or perhaps a customer has been rude to us on the phone. Whatever the reason, stress can make hearing loss seem temporarily worse.
Our tinnitus is playing up. For some people with hearing loss tinnitus (ringing or other sounds in the ears) kicks in on some days, and not others. On my worse days all I can hear is a throbbing squelching noise in my one working ear, and hearing speech through that is a real challenge.
We’re focusing on our work. One advantage of being deaf is that we can find it easier to block out noise to focus on a project.
We've taken our hearing aid(s) out! Yes, we do this to get a bit of peace and quiet from time to time. Right now my dog is going bananas at the bin lorry and I’m hearing aid-less so I can concentrate on writing this article.
So, just because your colleague seems to hear better some days than others don’t assume they’re faking their hearing loss. There are multiple reasons why it might look like we’re ignoring you.
Has anyone every accused you of pretending to be deaf? Have you doubted one of your colleagues is as deaf as they say? Let me know in the comments.