Typical Brit finds themselves in four awkward or embarrassing situations a month

THE typical adult finds themselves in four awkward or embarrassing situations a month – because they’ve misheard what someone has said.

A study of 2,000 adults found a fifth have asked for directions which they then got completely wrong, while 14 per cent have made an error at work after not hearing what was said.

And one in 20 have even attended social functions wearing the wrong clothes for the occasion, after missing instructions about the dress code.

However, the study, commissioned by Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care, found the average adult is only willing to ask someone to repeat themselves twice before things become too awkward.

As a result 67 per cent have resorted to pretending to hear what’s been said, because they are too embarrassed to ask again.

Common responses include simply nodding (65 per cent), making a neutral response such as ‘hmmm’ (59 per cent) and laughing under the assumption they’ve been told a joke (36 per cent).

While 24 per cent have responded with something agreeable like ‘I know what you mean’ while 23 per cent simply utter the words ‘oh really?’

And these scenarios are likely to become increasingly common for the foreseeable future – two thirds have struggled to be heard or hear what others are saying as a result of face coverings.

A spokesperson for Scrivens said: “As the research shows, mishearing or not hearing something can make us feel uncomfortable.

“As a nation we don’t like to cause offence or make others feel uneasy so often we’ll resort to going along with it in order to save face or put that person at ease.

“If you find yourself having to ask people to repeat themselves a lot, you shouldn’t ignore it. We’d recommend getting your hearing checked out, just in case.”

The survey also found 49 per cent revealed mishearing or not hearing what others say is a common occurrence for them.

The study also found almost four in 10 have avoided calling someone by their name because they didn’t catch it initially and felt too much time had passed for them to ask again.

But 20 per cent have called someone by the wrong name repeatedly, according to the OnePoll research.

Others have missed appointments and thought someone was flirting with them when they weren’t.

More than half of those polled tend to have difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in crowd situations.

While 50 per cent frequently need to ask others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly.

And a fifth have even avoided socialising because they are concerned they’ll struggle to hear what people say.

But worryingly, 75 per cent were not aware there is a connection between hearing loss and dementia.

A spokesperson from Scrivens added: “Avoiding socialising, struggling to understand words when there’s background noise, asking people to speak up – all of these can be signs of hearing loss.

“The earlier we can seek help for hearing loss the better, as it can prevent common side-effects such as social withdrawal.

“Whether or not we suspect our hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, regular hearing checks are a good way of monitoring our ear health.

“There are discrete solutions available for those with hearing difficulties which can dramatically improve quality of life.

“And at the extreme end of the scale, there are links between hearing loss and dementia, so it really is worth looking after your hearing.”

If you have concerns about your hearing – or even if you don’t – take the Scrivens online hearing check challenge here.

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