John’s having difficulties at work because he doesn’t always make out conversations. But he feels like it could be everyone else mumbling. He feels that you have to be old to use hearing aids, so he has been avoiding finding a hearing specialist, and hasn’t gone for a hearing test. Unfortunately, he’s been pumping up the volume on his earbuds in the meantime and doing significant harm to his hearing. So, sadly, his denial has stopped him from getting help.
But what John doesn’t recognize is that his views are outdated. Hearing loss doesn’t carry the stigma that it used to. Specifically, with younger people, it’s much less pronounced, even though you might still see it to some degree in some groups. (Ironic isn’t it?)
What Are The Problems With Hearing Loss Stigma?
Simply put, hearing loss has some social and cultural connections that aren’t always fundamentally helpful or true. For some, hearing loss may be viewed as an indication of aging or a loss of vigor. People are often worried that they will lose social status if others find out they have hearing loss. They feel they might look old and come off as less “cool”.
This issue may be thought of as unimportant and not associated with reality. But there are certain very real implications for people who are attempting to deal with the stigma of hearing loss. Including these examples:
- Relationship obstacles (Your not just tuning people ot, you just can’t hear them very well).
- Setbacks in your occupation (perhaps you didn’t hear a critical sentence in a business meeting).
- Avoiding hearing loss management (leading to less than ideal results or unnecessary struggling).
- 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 quite a while, but you most likely get it.
Luckily, this is all transforming, and it truly does seem as if the stigma around loss of hearing is on its way out.
The Reasons For The Decline of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are several substantial reasons why hearing loss stigma is decreasing. Population demographics are changing as is our connection to technology.
Hearing Loss is More Common in Youth
Perhaps the number one reason that hearing loss stigma is vanishing is that hearing loss itself is starting to be more and more prevalent, particularly with younger individuals (and we’re speaking largely of young adults not kids).
Most statistical research report the number of people with loss of hearing in the U.S. around 34 million, which breaks down to 1 in 10 people. There are too many factors that cause this for us to entering into here (noise from several sources seems to be the biggest factor), but the point is that loss of hearing is more common now than it ever has been in the past.
As hearing loss becomes more prevalent, it becomes easier to break down the stigmas and misinformation concerning hearing issues.
We’ve Become More Accustomed to Technology
Perhaps you resisted your first set of hearing aids because you were concerned they would be a noticeable indication that you have a hearing condition But today hearing aids nearly blend in completely. No one really even sees them. Under most circumstances, newer hearing aids are small and discrete.
But hearing aids also frequently go unnoticed because these days, everyone has something in their ears. Everyone is used to having technology so nobody is concerned if you’re wearing a helpful piece of it in your ear.
An Overdue Change in Thinking
There are other reasons why hearing loss has an improved image lately. 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 scenarios.
There will continue to be less stigma about loss of hearing the more we see it in the world. Of course, now we are trying to do everything we can to prevent 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 fades, more people will feel comfortable making an appointment with their hearing specialist and getting normal examinations. This will keep everybody hearing better and improve general hearing health.