John’s having a difficult time at work because he can’t always hear conversations. He’s in denial and is constantly telling himself that everyone is mumbling. He believes that you have to be older to wear hearing aids, so he hasn’t gone in for a hearing test and has been avoiding a hearing exam. Unfortunately, he’s been turning up the volume on his earbuds in the meantime and doing considerable harm to his hearing. Sadly, his resistance to admitting he has hearing loss has stopped him from looking for effective solutions.
But John’s outlook is older than he thinks. Because the stigma around hearing loss is becoming less prevalent. While in some circles, there’s still a stigma surrounding hearing loss, it’s far less apparent than it used to be, especially with younger generations. (Isn’t that ironic?)
How Can Hearing Loss Stigma be Harmful?
Put simply, hearing loss has some social and cultural connections that aren’t always fundamentally helpful or true. For some people, loss of hearing may be seen as an indication of aging or a loss of vigor. The anxiety is that you’ll lose some social standing if you admit you have loss of hearing. They feel like they might look old and come off as less “cool”.
This issue may be thought of as trivial and not connected to reality. But there are a few very real implications for people who are attempting to cope with the stigma of hearing loss. Here are some examples:
- Putting of on hearing loss management (leading to less than optimal outcomes or unnecessary suffering).
- Setbacks in your relationships (that isn’t just selective hearing…you really didn’t hear what was said).
- Occupation setbacks (Maybe you were attending a meeting and you missed some crucial information).
- Difficulty finding employment (it’s unfortunate, but some people may be prejudiced against hearing loss even if it’s not entirely legal).
This list could continue for quite a while, but at this point you most likely get the idea.
Luckily, this is all transforming, and It seems like the stigma of hearing loss is truly going away.
The Reasons For The Decline of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are several major reasons why hearing loss stigma is declining. Our relationship with technology and also demographic changes in our population have begun to change how we experience devices like hearing aids.
It’s Becoming More Common For Young Adults to Have Hearing Loss
Younger adults are dealing with loss of hearing more often and that could very well be the leading reason for the decline in the stigma connected to it.
34 million U.S. citizens suffer from loss of hearing according to most statical studies, which breaks down to 1 out of every 10 people. There are too many factors that cause this for us to get into here (loud noise from multiple sources seems to be the primary factor), but the point is that loss of hearing is more prevalent now than it ever has been in the past.
There is more discussion and knowledge about loss of hearing as it becomes more widespread.
We’re More Comfortable With Technology
Perhaps you resisted your first set of hearing aids because you were concerned they would be a noticeable sign that you have a hearing condition. But these days, technology is so pervasive that hearing aids nearly 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 the majority of situations are very discreet.
But frequently hearing aids go undetected because today, everyones ears seem to have technology in them. Everyone is used to dealing with technology so no one cares if you’re wearing a helpful piece of it in your ear.
An Overdue Change in Thinking
Naturally, those two reasons are not the exclusive causes for the retreat of hearing loss stigma. Much more is generally comprehended about hearing loss and there are even famous people that have told the public about their own hearing loss scenarios.
There will continue to be less stigma about loss of hearing the more we observe it in the world. 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 at least as the stigma goes away, more people will feel comfortable making an appointment with their professionals and getting normal screenings. This can help enhance overall hearing health and keep everyone hearing better longer.