Signs of Hearing Loss: Are You a Social Bluffer?

Hearing Loss Symptoms in Social Settings

Hearing loss is the third most common health condition among older adults, following heart disease and arthritis. It happens gradually, so hearing loss signs are often subtle.

Many people develop adaptive behaviors—or habits—to help compensate for the hearing loss in social settings. They may not even realize they’re doing it!

Behavior #1: Social Bluffing

Those with hearing loss often practice ‘social bluffing’, or pretending to hear. They might behave in a way that feigns understanding of what was said. For example, a person with hearing loss may smile and nod along, or respond with vague expressions such as ‘that’s interesting’ or ‘uh-huh.’ They often take cues from other people’s reactions in the room, too, such as laughing along if they notice other people are laughing.

Behavior #2: Lip-Reading and Body Language

Another common, but subtle hearing loss behavior is learning to read a person’s lips—as well as facial expressions, hand gestures and body language—to help fill in the gaps. Those with hearing loss may start to rely on these visual cues to clarify what was said, and may turn to face the speaker more directly to better observe them.

If any of these symptoms of hearing loss sound familiar, it’s okay—you’re not alone. However, it might be a good time to get your hearing tested by a Miracle-Ear hearing care specialist—who can help determine the degree of hearing loss, if any, and whether hearing aids could help.

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