Do you ever catch yourself pretending to hear what people say, just to avoid stopping the conversation? You may feel that it is impolite to interrupt people to ask them to repeat themselves and let the conversation continue, not fully understanding what is intended. It is important to unlearn this behavior as it has many unfortunate consequences.
For those with hearing loss, it may be common that you don’t fully hear what people are saying to you. This may especially be true in noisy environments, where multiple conversations or background music are happening at once. To ensure that you don’t become left behind in the conversation and your relationships, make sure to speak up and let people know when you can’t understand what they’ve said.
The Trouble with Pretending to Hear
When you pretend to hear what people have said, you may be trying to be polite or not to trouble the speaker. However, this performance of politeness can actually backfire. People may feel that you are not paying attention, do not feel engaged in what they are trying to say and are not interested. It is common for people with hearing loss to respond inappropriately to what has been said, when they pretend to hear, which can affect people’s perceptions of you.
The Impact of Pretending in an Educational Setting
In educational environments, missing what is said can drastically change your performance. When you attempt to mask that you didn’t understand, it can only make matters worse. In school you may become lost early on, pertaining to the content of the class. It is all too easy to miss assignments and struggle through lectures and tests when hearing loss isn’t addressed. When you are open with your instructors and the school, pertaining to hearing loss, you will find that there are many accommodations available to you as a student to help you succeed with hearing loss.
The Impact on Earning and Professional Success
When you fake your way through conversations at work, you cannot fully hear, you may miss critical components to projects and assignments. In a meeting with clients, coworkers or employers, they may feel that you are not fully committed to the work. The important thing to remember is that there are actually job security protections for people with hearing loss in the workplace. When you are open about a hearing, you can fully take advantage of ways to help you hear better and be more dynamic in your career. While many studies have found that untreated hearing loss can affect earnings and employment, they also reveal that those who treat their hearing loss, do not suffer these financial setbacks.
The Quality of Relationships
There is a good chance that much of what you are missing could just be banter or small talk. However, for intimate and platonic relationships, much of what builds closeness is casual conversation, inside jokes, and banter. You may start to feel distant from friends and even your significant other. Likewise, the people in your life will start to feel distant from you. People DO notice when you bluff your way through a conversation, especially considering that hearing loss is often permanent. This means your hearing issues will not get better, until you address them.
Be Open About Your Hearing Loss
When you are open to others about your hearing loss you have a special opportunity to simultaneously let them know what can help you to hear better. For instance, if one ear can hear better than the other, you can ask them to speak towards that side. You can let them know that it helps if you can see their face so you can read lips or ask them to speak slower, to help you understand. Of course, before you can be honest with others, regarding your hearing loss, you have to be honest with yourself.
There are many stigmas that keep people from addressing their hearing loss. It’s important to understand that these stigmas are only holding you back from seeking the treatment you need and deserve. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. These amazing devices can amplify sound so you can participate and follow conversations again. After a bit of time with hearing aids, you will most likely find that you no longer have to pretend to hear. The first step is easy. Make an appointment with us to have your hearing assessed today!