Hearing loss is a serious problem faced by millions of Americans every year. There are many reasons for the development of the problem. But they all lead to one sad result – the loss of the ability to hear the surrounding world and understand other people. Americans are reluctant to seek help, making the situation worse.
They don’t go to audiologists at the first symptoms of hearing loss. Americans are embarrassed about their problem and afraid to stand out among others. As a result, the problem develops and makes recovery difficult. What is the reason for such strange behavior? Hearing loss stigma is one of them!
Is there a link between the hearing aid and hearing loss stigma?
Let’s look at statistics to answer this question. Hearing loss is a common problem. Audiologists diagnose it in more than 50% of people over 60 years of age. The numbers increase with age. So 2/3 of adults over 70 have some kind of problem. These are big figures. However, only 20% of them use hearing aids daily. The rest prefer to ignore difficulties, even if it seriously interferes with their lives! At the same time, studies show that the number of people with hearing loss increases with each age decade!
Audiology Island has helped thousands of Americans regain their ability to hear their loved ones and the outside world. Our experience shows that many people are afraid to seek help because of social stigma. Hearing loss stigma makes people afraid of treatment and hearing aids! They are even afraid of audiometry screening. Although the health benefits of an annual hearing test are undeniable. This helps to avoid difficulties in the future.
Scientists also confirm the existence of a relationship between stigma and hearing loss. The Oxford study showed that people take into account the influence of social labels when deciding to use hearing aids. That is, for many Americans, the opinion of unknown people from the crowd is much more important than their health. Ageism and vanity win over the voice of mind and the advice of doctors.
Some patients are sure that people will stop communicating with them if they know about their hearing loss. They may believe that people will judge not only how they look but how they think and will begin shying away from social situations. Over time, this leads to self-isolation and relationship rupture, even with close people!
Why are Americans afraid to wear hearing aids?
Hearing aids are effective modern helpers against hearing loss. They restore hearing and return Americans to a happy life. However, some people refuse to use them due to stigma. They don’t think that the development of hearing loss leads to new difficulties. These are a loss of orientation in space, falls, social isolation, depression, etc.
Dr. Stella Fulman identifies the following main stigmatizing reasons, which most strongly influence decisions.
I look older for my age
People still consider hearing aids to be devices for the elderly. Therefore, young people are embarrassed to use them. It’s a problem of Western cultures. People with hearing aids are perceived as old and uninteresting communicators. Of course, this is not true! But the stigmatizing reason is still too strong in the minds of many Americans.
I’ll feel discomfort and inconvenience
This stigmatizing reason is associated with old hearing aids from the last century. They were bulky uncomfortable devices. Now everything has changed. Manufacturers offer different models and types of devices, taking into account lifestyle and hobbies. You can easily choose a hearing aid style for comfortable and safe daily use.
They cost too much
This is also a common misconception. Indeed, hearing aids used to be expensive. But today it’s different. There are also inexpensive solutions, which any working American can afford. In addition, there are various insurance plans, which can help cover the necessary devices. So, don’t be afraid that you’ll not have enough money. Today, this is no longer a problem for hearing aids.
According to research, hearing loss self-stigma is present in the lives of many people. However, you cannot be left alone with your problem. It’s necessary to overcome fear and take the first step – seek help!
How to help yourself?
You shouldn’t panic and be afraid. Millions of Americans have hearing problems. And many of them live happily thanks to the daily wearing of hearing aids. Do you have symptoms of hearing loss? Don’t be shy about social labels. Better, get a hearing evaluation! Hearing care professionals of Audiology Island will conduct all the necessary testing using modern equipment, make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe effective treatment.
The audiologist will select a hearing aid model, taking into account your lifestyle, hobbies, and wishes. You just have to choose from the proposed models, carry out the additional configuration of the devices and start using them!
Remember that social stigma exists and will always exist. You just need to learn to ignore this unpleasant phenomenon. Answer yourself honestly. What is more important to you? That you can hear the sounds around you and the voices of your loved ones or that you think that people are noticing your devices?
In addition, forget about the bulky devices from the past. Manufacturers produce modern hearing aids in a wide range of colors and shapes. You can choose a completely inconspicuous model, which hides in your ear canals. Or, on the contrary, you can wear a spectacular device that will look like a wireless earphone or another stylish gadget.
Are you ready to see how far hearing aid technology has come? Are you ready to hear and live to the fullest? Then welcome to Audiology Island!
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008. [ Learn More ]