Chances are you know someone with hearing loss. In the United States alone, over 34 million people, roughly 1 in 10, have some level of hearing impairment. Hearing loss not only affects the individual who has hearing loss but those around them as well. Hearing loss can adversely affect your ability to interact with the world around you, leading to embarrassment, social isolation, negative workplace outcomes and relational stress.
The good news is that 95 percent of hearing losses can be treated with hearing aids. Yet fewer than 20 percent of people with hearing loss choose to do anything about it. So why don’t more people seek hearing help?
People usually suffer needlessly for several years before they look for hearing help. A study published in 2010 by Margaret I. Wallhagen, Ph.D., found that the perceived stigma associated with hearing loss negatively impacts an individual’s initial acceptance of it and whether or not they choose to wear hearing aids.
The study found that hearing loss stigma is directly related to three main factors: alteration in self-perception, ageism, and vanity. Unfortunately, just the idea of wearing hearing aids was found to negatively change self-perception for participants in the study, even before they actually tried them. The study also found that the negative associations were markedly diminished after they tried hearing aids which were discreet and unnoticeable.
The stigma associated with hearing loss and hearing aids often prevents a person from seeking hearing help. Typically, the same people that worry needlessly are pleased to find that there are many discreet, customizable options and that they greatly improve quality of life.
How can you break the stigma of hearing loss? Here are four things you can do:
- Get your hearing tested annually and encourage your loved ones to do the same.
- If you have a hearing loss, treat it. Contact a local professional today and they can find the best fit for your hearing loss, lifestyle and budget.
- Wear your hearing aids. Our NuEar professionals know that getting new hearing aids can be an adjustment, which is why they are here to help you every step of the way through your hearing journey.
- Speak up about your hearing loss. Being vocal about your own hearing loss will gradually lower the stigma for others.
Don’t let the stigma of hearing loss and hearing aids prevent you from living life to the fullest. Investing in better hearing should be a priority! If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing difficulties, don’t wait – contact a local professional for a hearing evaluation. You owe it to yourself and to those around you to hear your very best.