John’s having problems at work because he doesn’t always make out conversations. He’s in denial and continues telling himself that everyone is mumbling. He thinks that you should be older to use hearing aids, so he hasn’t scheduled a hearing test and has been avoiding a hearing exam. But in the meantime, he’s been doing considerable damage to his ears by cranking up the volume on his earbuds. Sadly, his reluctance to admitting he has loss of hearing has stopped him from looking for practical treatments.
But what John doesn’t realize is that his viewpoints are outdated. Because the stigma concerning loss of hearing is becoming less common. While in some circles, there’s still a stigma surrounding hearing loss, it’s far less apparent than it was in the past, particularly with younger generations. (Ironic isn’t it?)
What is The Harm of Hearing Loss Stigma?
Simply put, hearing loss has some cultural and social connections that aren’t always necessarily true or helpful. For many, hearing loss might be seen as a sign of aging or a loss of vitality. People are often concerned that they might lose social status if others find out they suffer from hearing loss. They feel like they may appear old and come off as less “cool”.
You may be tempted to think of this stigma as a rather amorphous issue, detached from reality. But for individuals who are attempting to cope with hearing loss there are some very genuine consequences. Including these examples:
- Difficulties in your relationships (Your not just tuning people ot, you just can’t hear them very well).
- Putting of on hearing loss management (leading to needless troubled and poor results).
- Setbacks in your career (Perhaps you were in a meeting and you didn’t quite make out some important information).
- Job hunting problems (it’s unfortunate, but some people may be prejudiced against hearing loss even if it’s not entirely legal).
There are quite a few more examples but the point is well made.
Fortunately, this is all transforming, and It seems as if the stigma of hearing loss is really disappearing.
The Reasons For The Decrease of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are a number of major reasons why hearing loss stigma is decreasing. Our connection to technology coupled with demographic transformations in our population have started to alter how we feel about devices like hearing aids.
Hearing Loss is More Common in Younger People
Perhaps the biggest reason that hearing loss stigma is vanishing is that hearing loss itself is starting to be a lot more prevalent, specifically among younger individuals (and we’re speaking largely of young adults not kids).
34 million U.S. citizens are dealing with hearing loss according to most statical research, which translates into 1 out of every 10 people. More than likely, loud sounds from a number of modern sources are the leading reason why this loss of hearing is more common than it’s ever been.
As loss of hearing becomes more widespread, it becomes easier to understand the stigmas and false information surrounding hearing problems.
We’ve Become More Familiar With Technology
Perhaps you resisted your first set of hearing aids because you were concerned they would be an obvious indication that you have a hearing problem. But these days, technology is so pervasive that hearing aids pretty much blend entirely in. No one notices them. This is also, in part, because hearing aids are smaller than ever and in the majority of situations are very subtle.
But frequently hearing aids go undetected because these days, everyones ears seem to have something in them. Technology itself is simply so pervasive (and personal) that no one even pays attention when you’ve got a small piece of practical technology yourself.
A Shift in Thinking Long Past Due
There are other factors for why hearing loss has an improved image right now. Much more is generally comprehended about hearing loss and there are even famous people that have told the public about their own hearing loss conditions.
The more we see hearing loss in the world, the less stigma there will be. Of course, now we are trying to do all we can to stop hearing loss. The ideal would be to reverse the trends in youth hearing loss while combating against hearing loss stigma.
But more people will come around to seeing a hearing specialist as this stigma fades away. This will keep people hearing better and improve general hearing health.