Why Pretending to Hear Doesn’t Help

Why Pretending to Hear Doesn't Help

From time to time, smiling, nodding, and pretending to follow a conversation is okay – particularly with strangers in noisy environments like concerts or train stations. However, this ‘social bluffing’ becomes a problem when it interferes with our social lives, job success, or when our pretending is creating misunderstandings with those closest to us. 

Why Do We “Socially Bluff?”

There are several reasons we might claim to hear or understand something that we have not. Nobody wants to keep asking someone to repeat themselves because it can make it look like they aren’t listening or don’t understand. It can also be annoying for the person speaking to repeat themselves, especially if they are telling a story that relies on the right timing and rhythm to execute successfully. 

These types of interactions can be embarrassing, no doubt, and it could make those with hearing loss less inclined to stay active and meet new people.

Untreated Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline

While it can be easy to ignore hearing loss – after all, it is an invisible condition – there could be longer-term consequences if you delay treatment. 

Allowing your hearing issues to go unnoticed makes it harder to restore your hearing. As hearing loss develops, stress is placed on the link between our hearing and our brains’ cognitive functions. Leaving hearing loss untreated diverts cognitive resources from other tasks, such as memory and concentration.

When this juggling happens more and more often, the brain slowly reformats the way it processes speech. The longer you let a hearing problem go, the worse the changes in the brain become. 

These changes can make the brain less sensitive to hearing treatment, such as hearing aids, after it has adjusted to a reduced hearing capacity. While hearing aids can benefit nearly all hearing loss cases, the longer hearing loss goes untreated, the more the brain has to work to effectively re-learn how to listen with a device.

Pretending to Hear Could Affect Your Job Performance

Although you risk embarrassment through social bluffing with your friends and family, it can be even more damaging to use this tactic at work. 

Suppose you have a meeting with your supervisor, and different tasks are given to you to complete. If you do not catch everything that was given to you verbally, this could lead to overlooking important details with your work. Pretending to hear in these situations could lead to significant errors, costing you a promotion, or eventually, even your job.

This is a genuine threat. Studies show that those with untreated hearing loss are routinely underemployed, have a higher unemployment rate, and earn less than those who choose to treat their hearing loss. 

Stop Pretending to Hear & Seek Treatment!

We hope we’ve successfully made the case that you should stop trying to hide your hearing loss, but what should you do instead?

Address your hearing loss

If you’ve had an inkling that you may have hearing loss, a great first step is to get a hearing test. A hearing test is a simple, non-invasive procedure that allows you to better understand your hearing abilities. With your needs detailed, you can seek treatment. 

Advocate for yourself

To break the habit of pretending, you can develop strategies that will help you understand others better. For instance, instead of asking someone to repeat themselves and risk not hearing it a second time, ask them to turn down the background music, or switch seats with someone sitting at the front of the room. When you’re honest about your hearing loss, there’s no problem with your friends and family making accommodations to help you hear better.

Hearing Loss Treatment with UpState Hearing Instruments

If you’re ready to take charge of your hearing loss, we’re here to help! Our professional team offers comprehensive hearing health services and we look forward to helping you on your journey to better hearing. Contact us today to set up a consultation. 

Kenneth H. Wood, BC-HIS
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