John’s been experiencing problems hearing at work. But he thinks it’s probably everyone else not speaking clearly. He thinks that you should be older to use hearing aids, so he’s been procrastinating on finding a hearing specialist, and hasn’t gone for a hearing examination. Unfortunately, he’s been pumping up the volume on his earbuds in the meantime and doing considerable harm to his hearing. So, sadly, his denial has stopped him from seeking help.
But John’s attitude is older than he thinks. Because the stigma around loss of hearing is becoming less common. Particularly, with the younger generation, it’s far less pronounced, even though you may still encounter it to some degree in some circles. (Ironic isn’t it?)
What Are The Problems With Hearing Loss Stigma?
Put simply, hearing loss has some cultural and social connections that aren’t always fundamentally helpful or true. Loss of vitality and aging are oftentimes associated with hearing loss. The anxiety is that you’ll lose some social standing if you disclose you have loss of hearing. They feel like they may appear old and come off as less “cool”.
You may be tempted to think of this stigma as somewhat of an amorphous concern, separated from reality. But for people who are attempting to cope with loss of hearing there are some very genuine consequences. Including these examples:
- Obstacles in your career (maybe you missed a significant sentence in a business meeting).
- Delaying treatment of hearing loss (causing needless suffering and undesirable results).
- Relationship setbacks (Your not just tuning people ot, you just can’t hear them very well).
- 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).
This list could go on for a while, but at this point you most likely get the idea.
Fortunately, changes are occurring, and it genuinely does feel as though the stigma around hearing loss is on its way out.
The Reasons For The Decrease of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are numerous significant reasons why hearing loss stigma is decreasing. Our connection to technology in addition to demographic changes in our population have started to alter how we feel about things like hearing aids.
It’s Becoming More Common For Young Adults to Have Hearing Loss
Possibly the number one reason that hearing loss stigma is disappearing is that hearing loss itself is starting to be increasingly common, specifically among younger individuals (and we’re speaking largely of young adults not children).
Most statistical studies report the number of individuals who have hearing loss in the U.S. around 34 million, which breaks down to 1 out of every 10 people. There are too many factors that cause this for us to entering into here (noise from a number of sources appears to be the primary problem), but the main point is that hearing loss is more common now than it ever was in the past.
There is more discussion and knowledge about loss of hearing as it becomes more widespread.
We’re More Confident With Technology
Possibly you resisted your first pair of hearing aids because you were concerned they would be a noticeable sign that you have a hearing problem. But nowadays, technology is so pervasive that hearing aids pretty much entirely blend in. No one really even sees them. This is also, in part, because hearing aids are smaller than they ever used to be and in the majority of instances are very discreet.
But hearing aids also often go undetected because these days, everyones ears seem to have something in them. Everyone is used to dealing with technology so nobody is concerned if you’re wearing a helpful piece of it in your ear.
An Overdue Shift in Thinking
There are other reasons why loss of hearing has a better image these days. Much more is generally comprehended about loss of hearing and there are even famous people that have told the public about their own hearing loss situations.
There will continue to be less stigma about loss of hearing the more we observe it in the world. Of course, now we want to do everything we can to prevent hearing loss. The ideal would be to reverse the trends in youth hearing loss while fighting against hearing loss stigma.
But at least as the stigma fades, more people will feel comfortable scheduling an appointment with their hearing specialist and having regular screenings. This will help improve general hearing health and keep people hearing better longer.