Why Pretending to Hear Doesn't Help | Professional Audiology
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Why Pretending to Hear Doesn't Help

Why Pretending to Hear Doesn’t Help

Have you found yourself struggling to hear in an active environment with background noise? A common way people with hearing loss cope with this experience is by pretending to hear. Rather than interrupting and asking someone to repeat what they said which can feel too overwhelming or embarrassing, it can be easier to pretend to hear to get through a conversation. But this strategy can have significant effects on hearing health and relationships. Acknowledging and addressing your hearing loss symptoms can prevent you from having to pretend to hear as well as transform your quality of life. 

Impact of Pretending to Hear

People with and without hearing loss have likely pretended to hear during a conversation. This feels much easier to do than to interrupt (especially in group settings) and ask for clarification. But for people with hearing loss, pretending to hear can become a coping mechanism that is used regularly to navigate conversations. This can have significant effects including: 

  • Strains communication: pretending to hear stops you from actually hearing and understanding what the other person is saying. This prevents you from engaging in mutual conversation. This may contribute to miscommunication or unpleasant communication. 
  • Takes a toll on relationships: communication is the foundation of healthy relationships. People often report feeling unheard or ignored by their loved one with hearing loss. Contributing to this is that people with hearing loss may keep conversations as short as possible or ignore them entirely. This prevents spending quality time and engaging in everyday activities which can produce distance and frustration in relationships. 
  • Worsens hearing loss: pretending to hear also delays seeking hearing loss treatment. This can worsen hearing impairment and symptoms, taking a greater toll on everyday life and wellness. 

These effects can contribute to social withdrawal, impact mental health, and increase additional health risks. Extensive research shows that untreated hearing loss increases the risk of cognitive decline, accidental injuries, and depressive symptoms. This highlights the importance of addressing symptoms as early as possible. 

Signs of Hearing Loss

In addition to pretending to hear, there are additional common symptoms that signal hearing loss. Recognizing these symptoms can help you identify what you are experiencing. Common signs include: 

  • Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing noise in one or both ears. 
  • Sounds are slurred or distorted. 
  • Frequently asking others to repeat what they said, speak louder, and/or slower. 
  • Having you to increase the volume on the TV or other electronic devices. 
  • Struggling to keep up with conversations, experiencing miscommunication. 
  • Being able to hear better out of one ear compared to the other. 
  • Needed to move to a quieter space to have a conversation. 
  • Not hearing and missing your alarm clock. 
  • Feeling fatigued after conversations. 
  • Not telling others about your hearing challenges. 

These symptoms can be mild to more profound, depending on the degree of hearing loss you are experiencing. Symptoms can cause people to avoid conversations and communication as much as possible which often leads to social withdrawal. This includes spending less time with loved ones and participating less in activities/hobbies. Extensive research shows that social withdrawal increases the risk of developing depressive symptoms which impacts mental health and wellness. If you recognize any of these symptoms, it is important to intervene early by having your hearing health evaluated

Seeking Hearing Loss Treatment

It is important to know that there are effective resources, treatment, and services that are invested in transforming your hearing health. The first step is to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. This involves a painless and noninvasive process that measures your hearing capacities in both ears. A hearing test identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment in each ear – which can differ. This establishes your hearing needs which then allows your hearing healthcare provider to tailor treatment to meet your needs. 

The most common way hearing loss is treated is with hearing aids. These are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplify, and process speech as well as sound. Hearing aids provide the ears and brain with significant support, alleviating symptoms and maximizing hearing capacity. This offers countless life-changing benefits including strengthening communication, relationships, social life, and overall health. Treatment allows people to live active and fulfilling lives. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation.