Do you find yourself struggling to keep up with conversations in social settings or environments with background noise? If you’re having a tough time keeping up with what others are saying, pretending to hear and going along with the conversation may seem like an easy and convenient strategy. This prevents you from having to interrupt to ask for clarification and allows you to avoid acknowledging your hearing loss. But pretending to hear still keeps you out of the loop during conversations and leaves you out of interactions with others. It can also delay you from seeking hearing loss treatment which can transform your hearing health.
Hearing Loss Symptoms
Hearing loss reduces a person’s capacity to hear and process sound. This produces various symptoms that strain communication. This includes:
- Tinnitus: a ringing, buzzing, or clicking like noise in one or both ears.
- Sounds are distorted or muffled, making it difficult to clearly hear speech.
- Lip reading to identify individual words.
- Turning up the TV or other electronic devices like your phone.
- Being able to hear more clearly out of one ear compared to the other.
- Struggling to keep up with conversations, especially in places with background noise.
These symptoms can present as mild to severe, depending on the degree of impairment present.
Impact of Pretending to Hear
Hearing loss symptoms take a toll on communication. Symptoms make it challenging to engage in conversations easily. The brain has to work harder to try to hear and understand speech as well as sound. It can easily become overloaded with excess sound in the environment while also trying to process the speech being communicated to you. This makes it harder to hear and follow conversations. A Lot of people – both with and without hearing loss – can have a tougher time asking for information to be clarified or repeated. People don’t want to interrupt the speaker or be an inconvenience but actually not hearing what others are communicating is more impactful.
Pretending to hear can impact various facets of daily life. You can miss out on critical information in the workplace, preventing you from performing your job duties effectively. Pretending to hear can lead to not hearing or understanding what is being asked of you which can have greater consequences. It can also strain relationships in a variety of ways. Pretending to hear during important conversations with loved ones can lead to tension in these relationships. Pretending to hear prevents you from being actively engaged and responsive during these conversations. Your ability to respond, provide feedback, ask questions becomes limited when you haven’t properly heard everything being communicated to you. People can read this as disengagement and disinterest in what they are saying. In fact, people often report feeling ignored or unheard by their loved one with hearing loss. This can lead to miscommunication, distance, tension, and frustration which strains relationships. Pretending to hear can produce significant strain and issues in everyday life so it is important to address your hearing challenges directly.
Tips to Avoid Pretending to Hear
There are several ways you can tackle your hearing challenges and avoid pretending to hear. This includes:
- Be honest: it is important to communicate when you’ve missed something someone has said or you are having a tough time following what is being communicated. This can be as simple as saying that you can’t hear as well with the background noise and if they can rephrase what they said. Being direct and honest with others lets them know that you aren’t ignoring them and you actually do want to know what they are saying.
- Treat hearing loss: schedule an appointment for a hearing test. This assesses your hearing capacities and identifies any hearing loss as well as the degree of impairment you are experiencing. Treating hearing loss alleviates symptoms and maximizes hearing capacity.
- Share communication strategies: there are likely several communication strategies that you know of which support your hearing during a conversation. Sharing these stratiegs with others invites them to communicate more effectively with you. This can include grabbing your attention, rephrasing rather than repeating, maintaining visibility, using nonverbal cues etc.
These strategies can support your hearing in the environments you navigate daily. Contact us to learn more about treating hearing loss.