John’s having a difficult time at work because he doesn’t always make out conversations. He’s in denial and keeps telling himself that everyone is mumbling. What’s more, he believes he’s too young for hearing aids, so he hasn’t scheduled a hearing test and has been avoiding a hearing exam. Unfortunately, he’s been doing significant damage to his ears by turning up the volume on his earbuds. So, unfortunately, his denial has prevented him from seeking help.
But John’s perspective is more outdated than he believes. Hearing loss doesn’t carry the stigma that it used to. Specifically, with younger people, it’s much less pronounced, though you may still see it to some degree in some groups. (Isn’t that ironic?)
What Are The Problems With Hearing Loss Stigma?
The cultural and social connections with hearing loss can be, to put it simply, incorrect and not helpful. Loss of vitality and aging are oftentimes connected to hearing loss. People are commonly worried that they might lose social status if others recognize they suffer from hearing loss. They feel like they might look old and come off as less “cool”.
You may be tempted to consider this stigma as somewhat of an amorphous issue, separated from reality. But there are some very real consequences for people who are attempting to deal with the stigma of hearing loss. Here are some examples:
- Avoiding hearing loss treatment (resulting in less than ideal outcomes or unnecessary struggling).
- Job obstacles (Perhaps you were in a meeting and you missed some essential information).
- Challenges in your relationships (Your not just tuning people ot, you just can’t hear them very well).
- Difficulty finding employment (it’s unfortunate, 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 probably get it.
Luckily, changes are taking place, and It seems like the stigma of hearing loss is really going away.
Why is The Stigma of Hearing Loss Diminishing?
There are numerous substantial reasons why hearing loss stigma is on the decline. Our relationship with technology and also demographic transformations in our population have begun to change how we experience devices like hearing aids.
Hearing Loss is More Prevalent in Younger People
Younger adults are suffering from hearing loss more frequently and that could certainly be the biggest reason for the decrease in the stigma connected to it.
34 million U.S. citizens are dealing with loss of hearing according to most statical studies, which breaks down to 1 in 10 people. Most likely, loud noises from a number of modern sources are the leading reason why this hearing loss is more prevalent than ever before.
There is more discussion and understanding about loss of hearing as it becomes more widespread.
We’re More Comfortable With Technology
Possibly you resisted your first set of hearing aids because you were worried they would be a noticeable indication that you have a hearing issue. But these days, technology is so pervasive that hearing aids virtually entirely blend in. No one really even is aware of them. This is also, in part, because hearing aids are smaller than ever and in the majority of situations are very subtle.
But frequently hearing aids go undetected because these days, everyones ears seem to have something in them. Everyone is used to dealing with technology so nobody cares if you’re wearing a helpful piece of it in your ear.
An Overdue Shift in Thinking
There are other reasons why loss of hearing has an improved image these days. Much more is commonly 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 concerning hearing loss the more we see it in the world. Now, of course, we want to stop hearing loss in every way that’s possible. The ideal would be to change the trends in youth hearing loss while fighting against hearing loss stigma.
But at least as the stigma fades, more people will feel comfortable making an appointment with their professionals and getting regular examinations. This will keep everyone hearing better and improve overall hearing health.