John’s been having trouble hearing at work. He’s in denial and keeps telling himself that everyone is speaking unclearly. He believes that you should be old to wear hearing aids, so he’s been avoiding finding a hearing specialist, and hasn’t had a hearing examination. But in the meantime, he’s been doing significant damage to his ears by turning up the volume on his earbuds. So, unfortunately, his denial has prevented him from getting help.
But John’s mindset is older than he realizes. Because the stigma concerning loss of hearing is becoming less common. While in some groups, there’s still a stigma surrounding hearing loss, it’s far less pronounced than it was in the past, especially among younger people. (Isn’t that ironic?)
How Can Hearing Loss Stigma be Harmful?
The cultural and social connections with hearing loss can be, to put it simply, untrue and not helpful. Loss of vitality and aging are oftentimes associated with hearing loss. The concern is that you’ll lose some social standing if you admit you have loss of hearing. They feel they might appear old and come off as less “cool”.
This problem might be thought of as trivial and not connected to reality. But there are certain very real implications for individuals who are trying to cope with the stigma around hearing loss. Including these examples:
- Challenges in your relationships (Your not just tuning people ot, you just can’t hear them very well).
- Putting off proper care of loss of hearing (resulting in less than ideal outcomes or needless struggling).
- Setbacks in your occupation (Maybe you were attending a meeting and you missed some crucial facts).
- Job hunting problems (it’s sad to say, but some people may buy into the stigmas around hearing loss even if it’s not entirely legal).
There are quite a few more examples but the point is well made.
Luckily, this is all transforming, and it genuinely does seem as though the stigma around hearing loss is on its way out.
The Reasons For The Decline of Hearing Loss Stigma
This decline in hearing loss stigma is taking place for a variety of reasons. Our connection to technology and also demographic transformations in our population have begun to alter how we experience devices like hearing aids.
It’s Becoming More Common For Young Adults to Have Hearing Loss
Younger adults are suffering from hearing loss more often and that could certainly be the leading reason for the decline in the stigma associated with it.
34 million U.S. citizens deal with hearing loss according to most statical studies, which translates into 1 in 10 people. In all probability, loud sounds from a number of modern sources are the primary reason why this hearing loss is more prevalent than it’s ever been.
As hearing loss becomes more common, it becomes easier to understand the stigmas and false information surrounding hearing problems.
We’re More Confident With Technology
Maybe you were worried that your first pair of hearing aids would cause you to look old so you resisted using them. But today hearing aids almost completely blend in. No one really even sees them. Under most circumstances, newer hearing aids are small and subtle.
But hearing aids also commonly go unobserved because these days, everyone has some technology in their ears. Technology itself is simply so prevalent (and individual) that no one even pays attention when you’ve got a little piece of helpful technology yourself.
An Overdue Change in Thinking
Of course, those two reasons are not the exclusive causes for the retreat of hearing loss stigma. Much more is generally understood about hearing loss and there are even celebrities that have told the public about their own hearing loss scenarios.
There will continue to be less stigma regarding loss of hearing the more we see it in the world. Now, of course, we want to prevent hearing loss in every way that we can. If we could determine a way to reverse trends in youth hearing loss as we battle hearing loss stigma that would be ideal.
But more people will come around to seeing a hearing specialist as this stigma fades away. This can help enhance overall hearing health and keep everybody hearing better longer.