Hearing loss happens when there is a total or partial inability to hear sounds. Although this is a natural phenomenon, especially as we age, there is a stigma attached to this condition.
People struggling with some degree of hearing impairment may believe that wearing hearing aids would make them look less capable. Because of this, they may feel they have to deal with this experience alone or avoid seeking treatment. Unfortunately, leaving hearing loss untreated will make the condition persist. Worse, it may lead to social disengagement, cognitive decline, and other serious health issues. Learn more about the negative connotation surrounding it and how to fight it through this guide.
What Are the Causes of Stigma of Hearing Loss?
Most factors involved in the stigma surrounding hearing loss revolve around self-perception, ageism, and vanity. For instance, people dealing with it sometimes see themselves differently from others. Some patients avoid visiting a hearing specialist or even pretend they are not experiencing this condition to avoid the stigma.
Since hearing loss is strongly associated with aging, some patients with this condition might choose not to wear hearing aids to avoid ageism. This is a form of discrimination based on age. They may also fear they won’t be able to relate to their younger peers or avoid the fact that they are getting older.
Other people with hearing loss may avoid wearing hearing aids because they think these look bulky. They also fear that these devices draw attention to their condition and make them look unattractive or weak. This is a sad fact about hearing loss and the people with this condition.
Hearing loss advertisements are partially to blame for this problem. Since many advertisers emphasize the small size and discreet placement of the hearing aids, they may imply that hearing equipment and hearing loss are shameful and kept secret.
What Is the Impact of This Stigma?
Hearing loss is quite common as 15 percent of American adults have this condition. Despite this prevalence, many people are still suffering from the stigma, making them feel ashamed of their condition. Some even refuse to acknowledge it. When this happens, it can lead to disruptions in their treatment and cause the problem to persist.
For example, a patient might view their hearing aids as a sign of a handicap or weakness, even after visiting a doctor. Because of this, they might reject wearing them. It can result in long-term consequences, like behavioral changes, brain issues, depression, social disengagement, or dementia.
How Do We Fight the Stigma?
The best way to fight the stigma of hearing loss is through education. By learning more about this condition, it will become socially acceptable. It can result in a safer treatment and a changed mindset. For instance, hearing aids will no longer be viewed as a sign of aging or weakness. They will be considered tools that help in establishing relationships and boosting career opportunities.
The stigma of hearing loss can result in missing out on the world, years of strained relationships, and health issues. If you have been avoiding a hearing test, know that you are not alone. Keep in mind that treating this condition is critical to your health, so do your part to fight these negative connotations. Visit a hearing clinic today.
Hear More Associates is an established hearing clinic in Massachusetts. We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so we take time to understand the needs of every client. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!