Why Pretending to Hear Doesn't Help

Why Pretending to Hear Doesn’t Help

Olga Lis, MS, CCC-A

Have you ever found yourself in a noisy setting where you just can’t keep up with the conversation? Perhaps it’s too noisy or other people are mumbling—but have you ever considered the reality that you may have hearing loss. It’s not as far-fetched as it may seem at first. While hearing loss is commonly associated with older adults, the truth is that hearing loss can happen to anyone of any age. Even so, you may not feel old, however the risk of hearing loss increases by one in four for those 60 and older and increases to one in three by the time you reach 65! 

When you can’t hear what people are saying it’s all too easy to simply pretend to hear what they’ve said. Sure, you can ask them to repeat themselves once or twice, but after a while it may just feel embarrassing to stop the conversation again and again. However, pretending to hear what people are saying is a slippery slope!

The Risk of Pretending

What starts as not being able to hear can escalate all too fast into misunderstandings. You may attempt to simply nod along, but all too often people can tell you aren’t understanding what they are saying. Even worse, it can lead to misconceptions that you are disinterested in what they have to say, or are not paying attention, which ultimately can mount tensions within relationships. Miscommunications and misunderstandings are all too common when you pretend you’ve understood, often missing important details.

“Fake It Till You Make It”- Just Doesn’t Work!

It’s not just an issue that people with hearing loss deal with. Everyone struggles to hear every now and then, and sadly the issue may be in the culture prevalent in much of the United States, where people feel ashamed to stop conversations to ask people to repeat themselves. However, this leads to misunderstandings and even accidents at times which can be simply dangerous. 

Pretending to Hear in the Workplace

When it comes to the workplace and professional situations such as school or a job, missing what is said cannot only cause mistakes but be negatively costly as well. Pretending to hear when you can’t hear can mean you miss critical components to projects and assignments, causing you to miss meetings and important details.

The problem is that hearing loss is often described as an invisible disability, meaning that no one will know you have it based on appearance. Many including employers may misconstrue your lack of response or incorrect response as confused, or even resentful potentially costing you raises and promotions or even your job!

Be Honest About Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is often accompanied by a stigma which is hard to shake. People fear that admitting they have a hearing loss means that they are growing old or disabled. The truth is that nothing makes you seem confused, distracted or “old” than avoiding treating hearing loss. 

Treating Hearing Loss

When you are honest to yourself about your hearing loss, you are setting yourself up for success. You’ll be able to seek treatment when you admit to yourself that you may have a problem. The first step is to schedule a hearing exam in which the doctor will be able to understand the best treatment for you. The most common and effective treatment for hearing loss are hearing aids. These tiny electronic devices digitally amplify the sounds, tones and pitches you struggle to hear based upon your latest hearing exam. This makes it so it’s easier to hear in crowded settings, isolating the sounds and conversations you want to hear. They also can minimize distracting background noise so you can hear the conversations you need to with less distraction.

Getting Real About Hearing Loss

It can be difficult to admit you have an issue hearing. However, it’s an important step for your entire health. Hearing loss isn’t only a communication issue. It affects mood, mobility, socialization, and cognitive health as well. With the use of hearing aids you can hear what people are saying, reducing the stress of struggling to hear. You still may have to ask people to repeat themselves every now and then, but it happens to everyone! Normalize asking people to repeat what they’ve said. 

To find out what hearing aids can do for you, contact us today!