Nothing to see here: Why the end of hearing aid stigma is in sight
Over 5% of the world’s population, which is 360 million people, have hearing loss, and it takes an average of 10 years for someone with hearing loss to seek help. Why?Hearing aids have been proven to help communication and benefits mental health, so why are so many people reluctant to take the first steps towards the solution? Is it because they fear others will view them in a negative way? Is it because, in the media, hearing aids are so often associated with old age? What if the fear of that perception is based on a falsehood? What if most people don’t notice, let alone care if a stranger has a hearing aid? Breaking the stigmas around hearing lossIf you had an ingrowing toenail and were limping or were in too much pain to walk, would you have a simple procedure to remove the nail and get you back to doing all the things you’d been missing out on? I’m guessing that you would. Would you care what others thought about your need for the op? Maybe, but it would pass – along with the discomfort of the ingrowing nail. People would soon forget about it and it would never be mentioned again.Where friends and colleagues are concerned, your need for a hearing device will possibly be thought of in much the same way.They’ll be disappointed that you’re currently missing out on things, and they’ll see you’re are visibly struggling. Yes, they may be mildly curious about your hearing device/s when you first get them, and may ask about them (as someone would ask after you with a bandaged toe or a plaster cast); but, on the whole, for them it will be something of fleeting interest and they may never mention again (to you or anyone else). As for strangers – will they even notice?And, if they do, will they care?So, why all the fuss over hearing aids?People believe that there is a stigma attached to hearing aids and hearing loss, but I wonder… is their perception based on an out-dated view of how visible modern hearing aids are and what they look like? Let’s face it, many of the hearing aids on the market today are so discreet as to be almost invisible.