John’s been experiencing trouble hearing at work. But he feels like it might be everyone else mumbling. He thinks that you have to be old to wear hearing aids, so he hasn’t scheduled a hearing test and has been avoiding a hearing test. Unfortunately, he’s been doing significant harm to his ears by pumping up the volume on his earbuds. Sadly, his resistance to acknowledging he has loss of hearing has prevented him from looking for effective solutions.
But John’s attitude is more outdated than he believes. Hearing loss doesn’t carry the stigma that it used to. While in some groups, there’s still a stigma surrounding hearing loss, it’s far less pronounced than it was in the past, particularly with younger generations. (Ironic isn’t it?)
What Are The Problems With Hearing Loss Stigma?
The cultural and social connections with hearing loss can be, to put it simply, false and not beneficial. Loss of vigor and aging are oftentimes associated with hearing loss. The anxiety is that you’ll lose some social status if you acknowledge you have hearing loss. They feel like they may appear old and come off as less “cool”.
This problem might be thought of as insignificant and not associated with reality. But there are some very real consequences for individuals who are trying to deal with the stigma around hearing loss. Including these examples:
- Avoiding hearing loss management (causing unnecessary suffering and undesirable outcomes).
- Challenges in your relationships (Your not just tuning people ot, you just can’t hear them very well).
- Career obstacles (Perhaps you were attending a meeting and you missed some relevant information).
- Job hunting problems (it’s sad to say, but some people may be prejudiced against hearing loss even if it’s not entirely legal).
There are several more examples but the point is well made.
Thankfully, changes are taking place, and it really does feel as though the stigma surrounding hearing loss is on its way out.
The Reasons For The Decline of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are several significant reasons why hearing loss stigma is on the decline. Our connection to technology along with demographic changes in our population have started to change how we feel about things like hearing aids.
It’s Becoming More Common For Young Adults to Have Hearing Loss
Maybe the number one reason that hearing loss stigma is disappearing is that hearing loss itself is starting to be more and more prevalent, particularly among younger individuals (and we’re talking mostly about young adults not kids).
34 million U.S. citizens suffer from hearing loss according to most statical research, which translates into 1 in 10 people. In all likelihood, loud noises from several modern sources are the leading reason why this hearing loss is more prevalent than ever before.
As hearing loss becomes more prevalent, it becomes easier to break down the stigmas and misinformation concerning hearing conditions.
We’ve Become More Accustomed to Technology
Perhaps you were concerned that your first set of hearing aids would cause you to look old so you resisted wearing them. But nowadays, technology is so pervasive that hearing aids virtually entirely blend in. No one notices them. Under most circumstances, newer hearing aids are small and subtle.
But hearing aids also commonly go unobserved because today, everyone has some technology in their ears. Everyone is used to dealing with technology so no one cares if you have a helpful piece of it in your ear.
An Overdue Change in Thinking
There are other factors for why hearing loss has an improved image these days. In recent years, loss of hearing has been portrayed with more consistency (and more humanity) in popular society, and several notable celebrities have come out with their own hearing loss stories.
There will continue to be less stigma concerning loss of hearing the more we see it in the world. Now, of course, we want to prevent loss of hearing in every way that we can. The ideal would be to change the trends in youth hearing loss while battling against hearing loss stigma.
But at least as the stigma goes away, more people will feel comfortable making an appointment with their hearing care specialists and getting normal examinations. This will keep everyone hearing better and enhance overall hearing health.