John’s having a difficult time at work because he can’t always hear conversations. But he feels like it might be everyone else not speaking clearly. He thinks that you should be older to use hearing aids, so he hasn’t scheduled a hearing exam and has been steering clear of a hearing exam. Unfortunately, he’s been doing considerable damage to his ears by pumping up on his earbuds. Sadly, his reluctance to acknowledging he has hearing loss has prevented him from seeking out effective treatments.
But what John doesn’t recognize is that his ideas are antiquated. Because the stigma concerning hearing loss is becoming less common. While in some groups, there’s still a stigma about hearing loss, it’s much less pronounced than it used to be, especially with younger people. (Isn’t that ironic?)
What is The Harm of Hearing Loss Stigma?
Simply put, loss of hearing has some social and cultural associations that aren’t always fundamentally helpful or true. Loss of vigor and aging are sometimes connected to loss of hearing. People are frequently concerned that they could lose social standing if others know they suffer from hearing loss. They feel like they may look old and come off as less “cool”.
This problem could be thought of as trivial and not associated with reality. But for individuals who are attempting to cope with hearing loss there are some very real repercussions. Including these examples:
- Obstacles in your job (Perhaps you were attending a meeting and you missed some significant point).
- Difficulties in your relationships (that isn’t just selective hearing…you really didn’t hear what was said).
- Avoiding hearing loss treatment (causing unnecessary troubled and poor results).
- Job hunting problems (it’s unfortunate, 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.
Thankfully, this is all changing, and It seems as if the stigma of hearing loss is truly going away.
The Reasons For The Decrease of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are a number of substantial reasons why hearing loss stigma is decreasing. Our connection to technology coupled with demographic changes in our population have begun to change how we feel about things like hearing aids.
More Younger Adults Are Suffering From Loss of Hearing
Possibly the primary reason that hearing loss stigma is disappearing is that hearing loss itself is starting to be increasingly common, particularly with younger people (and we’re talking mostly about young adults not children).
Most statistical research report the number of people who dealing with loss of hearing in the U.S. around 34 million, which breaks down to 1 out of every 10 people. Most likely, loud sounds from several modern sources are the primary reason why this hearing loss is more widespread than ever before.
As loss of hearing becomes more widespread, it becomes easier to understand the stigmas and false information concerning hearing conditions.
We’re More Confident With Technology
Perhaps you were worried that your first pair of hearing aids would make you look old so you resisted using them. But nowadays, technology is so pervasive that hearing aids pretty much entirely blend in. No one really even is aware of them. This is also, in part, because hearing aids are smaller than they ever used to be and in most cases are very discreet.
But often hearing aids go undetected because today, everyones ears seem to have something in them. Technology itself is simply so prevalent (and personal) that no one even pays attention when you have a little piece of practical technology yourself.
A Change in Thinking Long Past Due
Naturally, those two reasons are not the only causes behind the reduction of hearing loss stigma. Recently, loss of hearing has been portrayed with more clarity (and more humanity) in popular culture, and several notable celebrities have come forward with their own hearing loss truths.
The more we see loss of hearing in the world, the less stigma there will be. Of course, now we are trying to do everything we can to stop hearing loss. The ideal would be to change the trends in youth hearing loss while combating against hearing loss stigma.
But more people will come around to seeing a hearing professional as this stigma goes away. This will keep everyone hearing better and enhance general hearing health.