Our brain’s ability to cope with hearing loss is nothing short of amazing. People with mild or even moderate hearing loss may feel like they have no issues. This is because hearing loss can creep up on us over years of wear and tear. The brain slowly adapts and implements various strategies to help us cope.
You may have noticed that during the pandemic you were not hearing as well. This is because the masks and screens that protect us from the virus have taken away a safety blanket; lip reading. We unconsciously rely on lip reading to fill in the gaps of speech we miss. Lip reading is a powerful tool to overcome hearing loss and it is something you can get better at. In fact, there are many lip reading courses available that are run by specialist teachers.
Filling in the gaps
As well as lip reading, we also use our experience of language to complete sentences. Let’s say you hear this, “I want ….. to the park”. Your brain can predict what should go in the middle. In this example, “to go” is likely to be the solution. However, it isn’t 100% reliable and sometimes we mishear. You may then give the wrong answer to the statement or question.
Let’s take that same sentence again but this time we missed a different word, “I want to go to the …“. In this example there are just too many options for our brains to instinctively complete the sentence. We need more information. To get this information we are likely to use context. Context can include the topic of conversation leading up to the statement. For instance, you could be walking past the park and make a comment about how good the slide looks. You will remember this context when waiting for an appropriate reply.
Context can also include body language. If you heard, “I want to go to the….” But at the same time you could see they were pointing at the park, once again, your brain will do the hard work and fill in the gap.
Did you know it takes the average person 7 years to get a hearing test after they first notice a problem? Denial is often a coping mechanism to protect their self-image (another conversation in itself!).
But denial is a common theme with hearing loss. A number of clients I have spoken to have even gone to the extent of complaining to the BBC because the news readers are mumbling. If you share this opinion, you could well be in denial too!
Rather than looking inward they cast blame on to the world. And denial isn’t a helpful coping mechanism, because it means that the individual is not thinking about seeking support.
Now if you think that all of this seems like a lot of effort; it is!
It puts a lot of additional strain on your brain and in the long term can have negative consequences for your mental and physical health.
So, if you are sat there reading this article, reflect for a second.
Think about how many times a day you say “pardon?” or “excuse me?”. Do your family complain the TV is too loud? Do you struggle to hear in noisy restaurants? If so, you likely have some degree of hearing loss.
Break the mould, don’t wait 7 years. In fact, don’t wait 7 minutes. Pick up the phone today and we will get you booked in for a thorough hearing evaluation.
Fancy a day out?
A hearing test with us will not be an inconvenience. Our clinic is a stone’s throw from the Whitstable seafront and all the fun it brings. We also give you a voucher for a free portion of chips from the local chippy with every new hearing test.
So why not bring along a friend or family member and make a day of it? It’ll be worth it.