John’s been experiencing problems hearing at work. He’s in denial and keeps telling himself that everyone is speaking unclearly. What’s more, he feels he’s too young for hearing aids, so he’s been avoiding finding a hearing professional, and hasn’t gone for a hearing examination. Regrettably, he’s been cranking up the volume on his earbuds in the meantime and doing considerable harm to his hearing. So, sadly, his denial has prevented him from seeking help.
But John’s attitude is older than he realizes. Because the stigma around hearing loss is becoming less common. While in some circles, there’s still a stigma about hearing loss, it’s far less apparent than it used to be, especially with younger generations. (Isn’t that ironic?)
What Are The Problems With Hearing Loss Stigma?
The cultural and social associations with loss of hearing can be, to put it simply, incorrect and not helpful. For some, hearing loss may be regarded as an indication of aging or a loss of vitality. People are frequently worried that they will lose social status if others find out they suffer from hearing loss. They feel they might appear old and come off as less “cool”.
You might be tempted to consider this stigma as a rather amorphous issue, detached from reality. But there are a few very real consequences for people who are attempting to cope with the stigma around hearing loss. Here are some examples:
- Obstacles in your job (Perhaps you were attending a meeting and you missed some significant facts).
- Avoiding hearing loss management (resulting in less than ideal results or unnecessary suffering).
- Setbacks in your relationships (Your not just tuning people ot, you just can’t hear them very well).
- Job hunting problems (it’s unfortunate, but some people may buy into the stigmas around hearing loss even if it’s not entirely legal).
This list could continue for quite some time, but at this point you most likely get it.
Luckily, changes are occurring, and it really does feel as if the stigma surrounding hearing loss is on its way out.
The Reasons For The Decline of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are numerous substantial reasons why hearing loss stigma is on the decline. Population demographics are changing as is our connection to technology.
It’s Becoming More Common For Young Adults to Have Hearing Loss
Younger adults are dealing with hearing loss more frequently and that could certainly be the number one reason for the decrease in the stigma associated with it.
34 million U.S. citizens are dealing with hearing loss according to most statical research, which breaks down to 1 in 10 people. In all likelihood, loud sounds from several modern sources are the leading reason why this loss of hearing is more widespread than it’s ever been.
As loss of hearing becomes more prevalent, it becomes easier to break down the stigmas and false information surrounding hearing problems.
We’re More Comfortable With Technology
Perhaps you resisted your first set of hearing aids because you were worried they would be a noticeable indication that you have a hearing problem. But nowadays, technology is so pervasive that hearing aids virtually entirely blend in. No one really even sees them. Under most circumstances, newer hearing aids are small and subtle.
But frequently hearing aids go undetected because today, everyones ears seem to have technology in them. Everyone is used to having technology so nobody is concerned if you have a helpful piece of it in your ear.
A Change in Thinking Long Past Due
Naturally, those two reasons are not the only causes behind the reduction of hearing loss stigma. In recent years, hearing loss has been depicted with more consistency (and more humanity) in popular culture, and several prominent celebrities have come out with their own hearing loss stories.
The more we see loss of hearing in the world, the less stigma there will be. Of course, now we want to do everything we can to stop 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 secure scheduling an appointment with their hearing care specialists and undergoing frequent exams. This will keep everyone hearing better and enhance overall hearing health.