Hearing in background noise
You're at lunch in a noisy restaurant. Everyone is laughing at the one-liner from the person two seats down; you're laughing too but you missed it. You've already asked people to repeat themselves several times so you do the trusty 'nod & smile' and hope you don't get caught out, or miss out on something more important than a joke.
Sound familiar? It should: in fact, having trouble following conversations in background noise is a common complaint even by people with normal hearing. You are not alone and should not feel embarrassed about it; which is not the same as saying you should not do anything about it.
Hearing aids can help in such situations, better today than ever before, but it's important to understand that they are no magical 'silver bullet' that will conquer every situation. We teach clients to use a number of strategies; for example, you don't have to be a spy to benefit from lip-reading - just watching someone's mouth provides a surprising amount of visual feedback to complement the auditory signals. Other strategies include table and seating selection, and being up-front with people about your hearing loss; that way the next time you say 'pardon me' it may be them feeling a bit apologetic rather than you. Oh yes - and wear the hearing aid!
Follow these simple pointers and hopefully you will find yourself in the middle of the joke, rather than on the edge looking in.