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Dispelling Misconceptions: Asking People to Repeat Themselves is No Big Deal

09/11/2015

This is the third in a series of blog posts that will address the common misperceptions about hearing loss and hearing aids. We hope they are helpful to you if you are on the fence about getting your hearing tested or purchasing your first pair of hearing aids (or if someone you love is in that situation).

No one minds being asked to repeat themselves — or do they?

A common misunderstanding expressed by seniors who suspect they have hearing loss but don’t want to do anything about it is that others don’t mind being asked to repeat themselves during conversations. They don’t think friends, family, or co-workers mind incorrect or inappropriate responses resulting from misunderstood words. In fact, only 15 percent of respondents thought others minded their requests for repetition or clarification.

However, when the same respondents were asked how they felt about conversations with others who constantly say, “Huh?” “What was that again?” or “Sorry, can you repeat that”, one in four said they would avoid future interactions. This contradiction reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the social implications of untreated hearing loss.

Reality check

The fact is no one enjoys having a conversation with someone who cannot hold up their end of it. It is frustrating to be asked to constantly repeat what you just said or having someone respond inappropriately to a misunderstood question. It is easier to start avoiding a person with untreated hearing loss than having to talk loudly or repeat every other word. While this may seem harsh and unfair, it is a common response that can lead to seniors becoming socially isolated ― a known risk factor for the development of depression and dementia.

The key is not to ignore hearing loss because you incorrectly assume no one in your life is bothered by it. If you notice you’re being invited to fewer social events, that people seem to talk around you in groups, or you don’t receive calls from friends and family much anymore, it’s time to get an honest assessment of your hearing loss. Ask those close to you if they’ve noticed a problem with your hearing and be open to taking action if the response is “yes”. Staying socially active is vital to enjoying an engaged and healthy life, so have your hearing tested and get hearing aids if recommended.

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