John’s having a hard time at work because he doesn’t always hear conversations. He’s in denial and is constantly telling himself that everyone is speaking unclearly. Besides, he believes he’s too young for hearing aids, so he hasn’t scheduled a hearing exam and has been avoiding a hearing test. But in the meantime, he’s been doing considerable harm to his ears by turning up on his earbuds. Sadly, his resistance to acknowledging that he has loss of hearing has stopped him from getting practical solutions.
But what John doesn’t comprehend is that his ideas are outdated. Because the stigma concerning loss of hearing is becoming less prevalent. While in some circles, there’s still a stigma about hearing loss, it’s much less pronounced than it used to be, particularly with younger generations. (Isn’t that ironic?)
How is Hearing Loss Stigma Harmful?
The social and cultural connections with hearing loss can be, to put it simply, false and not beneficial. Loss of vigor and aging are sometimes associated with loss of hearing. People are commonly worried that they could lose social standing if others know they suffer from hearing loss. They feel they might appear old and come off as less “cool”.
You could be tempted to consider this stigma as a rather amorphous issue, isolated from reality. But there are certain very real consequences for individuals who are trying to deal with the stigma around hearing loss. Including these examples:
- Obstacles in your occupation (Perhaps you were attending a meeting and you didn’t quite make out some essential information).
- Putting off management of hearing loss (leading to needless troubled and undesirable results).
- Setbacks in your relationships (that wasn’t just selective hearing…you really didn’t hear what was said).
- Difficulty finding employment (it’s sad to say, but some people may be prejudiced against hearing loss even if it’s not entirely legal).
This list could continue for quite a while, but at this point you most likely get it.
Thankfully, changes are happening, and it really does feel as though the stigma surrounding hearing loss is on its way out.
Why is The Stigma of Hearing Loss Declining?
There are several significant reasons why hearing loss stigma is decreasing. Our relationship with technology coupled with demographic transformations in our population have started to change how we experience things like hearing aids.
More Younger Adults Are Suffering From Loss of Hearing
Possibly the number one reason that hearing loss stigma is disappearing is that hearing loss itself is starting to be a lot more common, especially with younger people (and we’re talking mostly about young adults not children).
34 million U.S. citizens are dealing with hearing loss according to most statical research, which breaks down to 1 out of every 10 people. In all probability, loud noises from many modern sources are the primary reason why this loss of hearing is more widespread than ever before.
There’s more discussion and knowledge about loss of hearing as it becomes more common.
We’re More Comfortable With Technology
Maybe you were worried that your first set of hearing aids would make you look old so you resisted using them. But these days, technology is so pervasive that hearing aids almost entirely blend in. No one notices them. This is also, partly, because hearing aids are smaller than they ever used to be and in the majority of instances are very discreet.
But hearing aids also typically go unobserved because today, everyone has some technology in their ears. Technology itself is simply so prevalent (and personal) that no one bats an eyelash when you have a tiny piece of practical technology yourself.
An Overdue Shift in Thinking
There are other reasons why loss of hearing has an improved image these days. In recent years, hearing loss has been portrayed with more accuracy (and more humanity) in popular culture, and several prominent celebrities have come forward with their own hearing loss stories.
The more we see hearing loss in the world, the less stigma there will be. Of course, now we are trying to do everything we can to stop hearing loss. If we could determine a way to counter trends in youth hearing loss as we battle hearing loss stigma that would be optimal.
But at least as the stigma fades, more people will feel secure scheduling an appointment with their professionals and undergoing regular exams. This can help enhance overall hearing health and keep people hearing better longer.