Do you ever find yourself in a noisy restaurant or bar, with loud music blasting and multiple people talking at once? It’s no surprise it’s hard to hear when it’s this loud! At first, when you can’t hear someone, you may ask them to repeat themselves, but as this continues you may feel embarrassed that you have to keep asking. Have you ever been tempted to just pretend to hear rather than going through the hassle of asking them to repeat? Everyone does it now and then, but if it starts to happen all the time it can start to create a real problem!
Trouble Following Conversation with Hearing Loss
For those who have a hearing loss, this can easily become a habit. Hearing loss often starts slowly, impeding the delivery of certain sounds to our brain. This can make it incredibly difficult to follow the conversation – especially when there is background noise. It may be tempting to pretend to hear, but it’s important to understand that most likely your hearing loss isn’t going away. That means if you’re pretending to hear you are going to have to hold up this bluff for a long time.
Why People Pretend
You may feel that interrupting someone to ask them to repeat themselves is rude. However, this is a social stigma that serves no one. In truth, pretending you understand someone when you can’t, can feel rather patronizing to the person speaking. You may respond incorrectly to what they are saying or appear lost and disinterested in what they have to say. Never hesitate to stop a conversation so you can understand. If it’s too noisy to hear, suggest asking them to type out what they are saying over the phone or write it out on paper. You can turn it into a fun game.
Eroding Close Bonds
Fake it till you make might work now and then but it’s no way to foster healthy relationships. When you pretend to hear, you put all of your relationships at risk. It may feel okay to nod along when you’re hearing small talk – but how do you know what you’re hearing is small talk? A strain on relationships can take over every aspect of your life and spread a level of depression throughout your life. However, imagine if the next time you feel inclined to pretend, instead you let people know that you need help hearing.
Fighting the Stigma of Hearing Loss
There is a serious stigma connected to hearing loss. People feel embarrassed to admit that they have a disability, or they worry that having hearing loss will give people the impression that they are showing their age. We live in a culture that worships age and this can have damaging consequences around the shame of aging. In truth, aging is a beautiful process and signifies that we are surviving. The idea however is to thrive, and you can only do this when you own all the parts of aging. Don’t be afraid to let people know you have hearing loss.
Asking for Accommodations
When you are open about your hearing deficit you can also ask for accommodations in communication. Accommodations can take several forms and is different for everyone though some common strategies seem to work for many with hearing issues. Some people find it helpful when you maintain eye contact while others find it more helpful when a slow and gaited tone is used. A clear view of the speaker’s face can also add visual support, such as lip reading and facial expression. Body language also says more than we might expect. The people in your life will most likely be grateful that you have included them in your hearing journey. Letting them know you have a hearing loss, not only gives them better strategies for improved communication but gives you the tools to take this level of communication to every relationship in your life.
Treating Hearing Loss
Modifying the way, you communicate can go a long way but it can’t replace treating a hearing loss. When you treat your hearing loss with hearing aids, they can be programmed to amplify the sounds you need to hear. Stop pretending and start living by scheduling a hearing exam today!