If you think you may have hearing loss, you are certainly not alone. About 466 million people worldwide have hearing loss.¹
Research shows that many of those who do not seek treatment have some perceived social stigmas surrounding hearing loss. It is important to note that such stigmas are often related to the way that others see them. However, often these stigmas are “perceived” stigmas rather than actual stigmas. The ability to converse with others and enjoy our relationships and experiences fully is key to maintain a good quality of life. Understanding how to move past these perceived stigmas is paramount in moving forward and seeking the support one can receive from hearing aids.
The perceived stigmas are related to 3 experiences :
- Alternations in self-perception: This form of stigma relates to the way in which people expect they might be perceived if they have hearing aids. They are concerned that wearing a hearing aid may make them seem old or disabled.
- Ageism: Ageism is a perceived stigma that relates to a concern that others will perceive them as being old. Even though one may enjoy the process of ageing, they are still hesitant to be labelled in the “elderly group” because they are aware of the various stigmas that might be attached to old age.
- Vanity: Within the vanity stigma is the concern that they might seem less attractive if they begin to wear a hearing aid.
The irony of these stigmas is that waiting to get hearing aids to treat hearing loss could lead to hearing loss becoming more severe at an earlier age, which could lead to one seeming older than they are – or even disabled.
It is important for those suffering with hearing loss to move past these stigmas as treating hearing loss will help those with hearing difficulties to get their life back on track and potentially feel younger and attractive again due to a renewed self-confidence in everyday life.
Support for a loved one with hearing loss could help to facilitate one’s decision to seek out a hearing test and potential hearing aid solutions. When children, parents, siblings, partners, etc. get involved in encouraging their loved one to seek professional advice for the sake of their quality of life (both for the individual and their friends and family), the individual may be more inclined to take the next step – since this encouragement and support helps them to see the bigger picture and how their hearing loss could also be affecting the relationships of those closest to them.
If you or a loved one have been hesitating to seek professional help for a potential hearing loss, remember:
- Testing your hearing loss and / or getting hearing aids is a step which can help you and/or your loved ones lead a more fulfilled life.
- Ultimately, moving past perceived stigmas will help you to realize that many of these stigmas are not entirely true.
- Most importantly, bettering your hearing will help you to enjoy a better quality of life. When you feel better, those around you feel better too .
If you think you may have signs of hearing loss, contact a hearing care expert in your local area to request an appointment today.