John’s been having difficulty hearing at work. But he thinks it’s probably everyone else mumbling. What’s more, he believes he’s too young to need hearing aids, so he has been procrastinating on finding a hearing professional, and hasn’t gone for a hearing exam. Regrettably, he’s been turning up the volume on his earbuds in the meantime and doing considerable harm to his hearing. So, unfortunately, his denial has stopped him from seeking help.
But what John doesn’t realize is that his views are outdated. Because the stigma around loss of hearing is becoming less prevalent. While in some circles, there’s still a stigma about hearing loss, it’s far less apparent than it was previously, especially with younger generations. (Isn’t that ironic?)
What is The Harm of Hearing Loss Stigma?
The cultural and social connections with loss of hearing can be, to put it simply, not true and not beneficial. For some, loss of hearing might be viewed as an indication of aging or a loss of vitality. People are often concerned that they could lose social standing if others find out they have hearing loss. They feel they might look old and come off as less “cool”.
This issue might be thought of as trivial and not connected to reality. But for people who are trying to deal with loss of hearing there are some very real repercussions. Including these examples:
- Putting of on hearing loss management (causing needless suffering and undesirable outcomes).
- Relationship problems (Your not just tuning people ot, you just can’t hear them very well).
- Occupation obstacles (perhaps you didn’t hear a critical sentence in a company meeting).
- Job hunting problems (it’s unfortunate, but some people may be prejudiced against hearing loss even if it’s not entirely legal).
There are quite a few more examples but the point is well made.
Thankfully, changes are occurring, and It seems like the stigma of hearing loss is truly disappearing.
The Reasons For The Decline of Hearing Loss Stigma
There are several significant reasons why hearing loss stigma is declining. Population demographics are transforming and so is our connection to technology.
Hearing Loss is More Common in Youth
Possibly the number one reason that hearing loss stigma is disappearing is that hearing loss itself is becoming more and more common, particularly with younger people (and we’re talking mostly about young adults not kids).
34 million U.S. citizens are dealing with hearing loss according to most statical studies, which breaks down to 1 in 10 people. There are too many reasons for this for us to get into here (noise from several sources seems to be the biggest problem), but the main point is that loss of hearing is more common now than it ever has been before.
As hearing loss becomes more widespread, it becomes easier to break down the stigmas and false information concerning hearing issues.
We’ve Become More Familiar With Technology
Perhaps you resisted your first set of hearing aids because you were concerned they would be an obvious indication that you have a hearing condition. But now hearing aids nearly completely blend in. No one notices them. This is also, in part, because hearing aids are smaller than they ever used to be and in most circumstances are very discreet.
But hearing aids also typically go unobserved because today, everyones ears seem to have technology in them. Everyone is used to having technology so nobody cares if you’re wearing a helpful piece of it in your ear.
An Overdue Change in Thinking
There are other factors for why loss of hearing has a better image lately. Much more is commonly understood about hearing loss and there are even famous people that have told the public about their own hearing loss situations.
The more we observe hearing loss in the world, the less stigma there will be. Of course, now we want to do all 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 secure making an appointment with their professionals and undergoing frequent exams. This will help enhance overall hearing health and keep everyone hearing better longer.