Why Pretending to Hear Doesn't Help                       

Why Pretending to Hear Doesn’t Help                       

Dr. Molly Dillon Communication

Dr. Molly Dillon

Have you ever been in a social situation where you can’t keep up with the conversation? When you have hearing loss, pretending to hear often feels like an easy option when you face hearing challenges, but just nodding along doesn’t always work. Pretending to hear leaves you outside the loop on important information and can lead to misunderstandings and social tensions.

Depending on your hearing, you may encounter challenging situations daily. Rather than miss out on what is said, it is important to learn to advocate for yourself. Whether it’s in a loud restaurant, a school lecture or a private phone conversation, people want to be understood – and they want to understand you. Letting people know that you can’t hear them properly can actually help a conversation move smoother, and lets you be included.

Faking It Can Hurt You

Many people – even people without hearing loss – have trouble asking for information to be repeated or reformatted. Often it seems like a repeat inconveniences the speaker. However, not comprehending the conversation you missed is more often the true inconvenience.

Consider professional situations like when you are at school or on the job. Missing what is said can drastically change your performance. Pretending to hear when you actually can’t hear can mean you miss critical components to projects and assignments. If you are meeting with clients, coworkers or teachers, pretending to hear can leave them feeling you aren’t on the same page. If others do not know you deal with hearing issues, they can be puzzled or resentful of your response (or lack of one). Faking your hearing can also mean you misunderstand what is being asked of you which can lead to failed attempts or extra work in the long run. 

The Trust of Others

While much of what you may be missing is probably small talk, you don’t want to be pretending to hear when something important does come up. Trying to fudge your way through an important conversation can erode your relationship with the people you are talking to, especially if they don’t know you deal with hearing loss.

Even the close bonds of family can be strained when you pretend to hear. You may think that you can easily coast through the routines of everyday life, but even in casual situations like this can have consequences. When you pretend to hear, there will often come a point in the conversation where you are asked to respond to questions or decisions in the conversation. If you have been pretending to hear, the others in your conversation will likely pick up on the issue when talking comes to a place where you respond.

When it comes to friends and family, an act of pretending to hear is often interpreted in disengagement and disinterest. It can cause those closest to you to feel ignored, and can contribute to social isolation.

Try Honesty

Pretending to hear can get you in trouble and lead to unwanted consequences – but what can be done? Next time you have difficulty hearing, be frank about your situation and advocate for what you need. At a noisy party this can be as simple as “I can’t hear you through this noise, but I’d love to catch up with you somewhere quieter”. At work or school, it may be a good idea to tell your boss or teacher or human resources department about your hearing difficulty so you can access accommodations that keep you in the game.

It can be hardest to reach out to the friends and family you interact with daily, but it is totally worth it. Being upfront with others lets them know that you aren’t ignoring them and helps them learn to communicate more clearly with you.

Hearing Aids Can Help

If you often have difficulty following a conversation but have never been diagnosed with hearing loss, it is probably time for your next hearing exam. Most hearing loss is cumulative, meaning that permanent hearing damage can add up over time to significant hearing loss, so it is important to check your hearing regularly.

Blue Wave Hearing Centers

Even though most hearing loss is permanent, it can be addressed effectively with hearing aids. Hearing aids are a powerful tool for keeping up with the world around you and Blue Wave Hearing Centers can help you connect with the right device for your needs. We specialize in patient-focused care and treatment that helps you get the most from your hearing. Ready to hear better? Contact us today!