Friday, May 31, 2013

Nodding Your Head to Pretend You Understood

One  miscommunication experience that is common for deaf and hard of hearing persons   is nodding their head to  pretend they understand something where they didn't in order  to avoid embarrassment or fail to  carry on a conversation without making anyone uncomfortable. However, sometimes, we nod our head  which the person who is talking to us surprises , because they were expecting us to answer their question not to agree.

I was with my friend talking about some stuff and walking. As a Cochlear Implant user, I heavily depend on lip reading to understand when I am chatting with hearing people. Most of the time, I pretend to understand while I did not , because I might be hoping,  I will understand what they are talking about in their next sentences. Unfortunately,  this does not happen always. My friend was talking to me and asking a question. Instead, of answering his question, I replied oh yeah and nodded my head; he  was surprised and said “ that was a question!” After an awkward moment, I told him I did not  understand what he was saying  and asked if he could repeat?  

This experience is common not only for deaf and hard of hearing but also  hearing people especially those who are learning sign language. This method  of nodding head to keep conversation going, I think could be found in all people who are learning a new language and do not understand it well. But, I believe that higher number of deaf and hard of hearing experience this  compared to their hearing counterparts.


  1. Oh yes. I have done this myself nodding in hoping eventually I will follow the conversation. But turn out I don't. I have not done it as much now. mainly I do ask to repeat now if i don't hear them.

  2. Liz
    Yeah we dont realize when we do that.