According to the Cambridge English dictionary the definition of stigma is “a strong feeling of disapproval that most people in a society have about something, especially when this is unfair” for many people with hearing loss this perception of “disapproval” will ring true.
We often see clients whose biggest hurdle is coming to terms with the news that they have a loss, what that might mean for them, whether they need to do something about it and how will friends and family treat them once they find out. They will often comment that it is something that isn’t that bad or they can cope with, society plays a large part in this with a stigma that hearing loss or indeed wearing hearing aids is for older people.
However, with the statistics from Action on Hearing Loss showing that 1 in 6 of us have a hearing loss and that figure estimated to rise to 1 in 5 by 2035, we really need to do more to break down the barriers and perceptions people have about their hearing.
A 2009 study that was conducted in America showed that clients stated the main reason for not addressing their loss as it not being “bad enough”; and even of non-users with a severe/profound hearing loss, more than half believed there was no need for aids. So how do we educate clients about how important their hearing is?
In a society that is now increasingly noisy and with us all leading hectic, busy lifestyles our hearing and being able to communicate with the people around us is more important than ever before, we shouldn’t need to compromise on our ability to be able to interact with our grandchildren or enjoy our favourite TV show.
All of the major manufacturers have invested in making their instruments more cosmetically acceptable as well as improving the technology inside. With the ability to use your devices to connect to phones, TV, Skype, Laptops and many other types of audio devices it has helped break down some of the perceptions of what having a hearing loss means and how it impacts on a persons day to day life.
I would encourage anyone who has concerns about their hearing to talk to your local audiologist, you’ll be surprised at the choices now available. Whether your concern is the way the instrument might look or the way it will make you feel there are many options available in a whole range of technologies.
Brighton Hearing Care are hear to help give impartial advice on what they believe is the best recommendation for your hearing, lifestyle and budget. Its free and with obligation.
If you, a family member or a friend has an issue with their hearing then get in touch for your free hearing assessment.