John’s been having problems hearing at work. He’s in denial and is constantly telling himself that everyone is mumbling. Besides, he believes he’s too young to need hearing aids, so he hasn’t gone in for a hearing exam and has been steering clear of a hearing exam. Unfortunately, he’s been doing considerable damage to his ears by turning up on his earbuds. So, unfortunately, his denial has prevented him from getting help.
But what John doesn’t comprehend is that his viewpoints are antiquated. Because the stigma concerning hearing loss is becoming less prevalent. While in some groups, there’s still a stigma about hearing loss, it’s much less pronounced than it was previously, particularly among younger generations. (Isn’t that ironic?)
What Are The Problems With Hearing Loss Stigma?
Simply put, hearing loss has some cultural and social connections that aren’t always fundamentally true or helpful. Loss of vitality and aging are oftentimes associated with loss of hearing. The anxiety is that you’ll lose some social status if you admit you have loss of hearing. Some might think that hearing aids make you look old or not as “with it”.
You might be tempted to consider this stigma as a rather amorphous issue, separated from reality. But there are a few very real implications for people who are attempting to deal with the stigma around hearing loss. Here are some examples:
- Avoiding hearing loss management (leading to needless troubled and undesirable outcomes).
- Difficulties in your relationships (that isn’t just selective hearing…you really didn’t hear what was said).
- Obstacles in your job (possibly you didn’t hear a significant sentence in a business meeting).
- 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).
There are several more examples but the point is well made.
Thankfully, changes are occurring, and It seems as if the stigma of hearing loss is truly disappearing.
The Demise of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are various significant reasons why hearing loss stigma is on the decline. Population demographics are transforming and so is our connection to technology.
Hearing Loss is More Prevalent in Younger People
Perhaps 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 kids).
34 million U.S. citizens have loss of hearing 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 widespread than it’s ever been.
As loss of hearing becomes more widespread, it becomes easier to understand the stigmas and false information concerning hearing conditions.
We’re More Comfortable With Technology
Maybe you were worried that your first pair of hearing aids would make you look old so you resisted wearing them. But these days, technology is so pervasive that hearing aids virtually entirely blend in. No one notices them. In many cases, newer hearing aids are small and discrete.
But often hearing aids go unobserved because today, everyone has something in their ears. Technology itself is simply so prevalent (and personal) that no one even pays attention when you have a small piece of useful technology yourself.
An Overdue Shift in Thinking
There are other factors for why loss of hearing has a better image lately. 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.
There will continue to be less stigma about loss of hearing the more we see it in the world. Of course, now we want to do everything we can to stop hearing loss. If we could determine a way to reverse trends in youth hearing loss as we challenge hearing loss stigma that would be optimal.
But more people will come around to seeing a hearing professional as this stigma fades away. This will keep everybody hearing better and enhance overall hearing health.