Why Pretending to Hear Doesn’t Help

In Communication, Health, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Mental Health, Work and Economy by Bary E. Williams Au.D.

Like most hidden disabilities, hearing loss comes with baggage that contributes to people’s reluctance to be open about the condition. Historically, hearing loss has been considered a sign of old age, impairment and declining mental capacities.  But this secrecy can have a deleterious effect on professional and personal relationships, affecting job performance and mental and physical health.

If you have experienced changes in your hearing, and the condition conditions to worsen, there may be the chance that you do not want anyone else to find out! Pretending to hear is one of the worst things you can do for your hearing health and your relationships.


Why We Pretend to Hear

Have you ever been in a crowded club or restaurant with someone close to you, like family or a friend? Someone starts talking to you, but with all the background noise it’s hard to hear what they’re saying. You ask them to repeat themselves, but you still can’t understand what they’re saying.   At that point do you stop the conversation completely? They’re obviously excited to be telling you about whatever it is, and you don’t want to make them feel bad, so you smile and nod. You pretend you can hear, and give up on straining to catch what they’re saying to you.

When they inevitably ask you a question you don’t know what they’ve been talking about, and certainly didn’t hear the question.  At this point you may likely start to feel embarrassed as you try to answer a question you didn’t hear.  It should come as no surprise that untreated hearing loss often leads to social isolation, as people who struggle to hear in social settings prefer to avoid them.


How Pretending to Hear is Bad for Your Hearing Health

When you pretend to hear, you may inadvertently back yourself into a corner. No matter what you do, you’re in for some embarrassment when your friends find out you didn’t understand them, and haven’t been hearing anything clearly all evening. Pretending among your friends is one thing, but have you ever pretended at work? What if you haven’t understood what your boss has told you to do, or didn’t catch the explanation your colleague gave you? If you don’t admit you couldn’t understand you’re in danger of making a big mistake that could cost you a lot of respect, or maybe even your job.


Hearing Loss and Loss of Income

Hearing loss can mean a lower income and higher prevalence of unemployment in people who do not use hearing aids. This is shown in a study from the USA. The study also estimates that the loss of income for people with untreated hearing loss in the US is $176 billion. In the US the MarkeTrak VIII study of more than 40,000 households has demonstrated that hearing loss has a deleterious impact on earnings and unemployment rates. People with untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 annually, depending on their degree of hearing loss.


Hearing Loss and Isolation

Pretending to hear might seem like a good idea in the moment but the reality is that it has a negative impact on your hearing and your overall health. It won’t be long before you don’t go out with your friends, and start to isolate yourself. With social isolation comes cognitive decline, and further hearing loss. This is a vicious cycle that will get you into allot of trouble.


Get Your Hearing Tested

Fortunately, you don’t have to pretend any longer. Hearing assistance awaits you in a number of forms, including hearing aids that are particularly suited to the human voice and conversation in noisy environments. The truth is, not being able to hear, answering inappropriately, or asking someone to repeat themselves 10 times over makes you look older than wearing a hearing aid might. Wearing a nearly invisible, sleek hearing aid tucked behind your ear or resting snugly in your ear canal is far less noticeable. Your friends probably won’t even notice unless you point it out to them, which you just might want to do once you realize what this amazing little device is doing for you.

At Exceptional Hearing Care, our friendly team provides comprehensive hearing health services, from hearing testing to hearing aid fittings. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Bary E. Williams Au.D.
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