Overcoming the Stigma of Hearing Loss

Overcoming the Stigma of Hearing Loss

A whole new world awaits us. With so many advances in technology and an improved mindset about various disabilities, it is a wonder that people are still so shy about admitting to hearing loss. Having a hearing problem really is not as big of a deal as most people make it out to be, especially in today’s world where there are so many gadgets to help each and every individual with their unique hearing needs.

Back in the day, people often thought that hearing loss is something that afflicted only the elderly population. Nothing can be further from the truth. It is true that presbycusis (or age-related hearing loss) is indeed a problem of the elderly, but hearing loss comes in various degrees and is caused by multiple reasons. Noise induced hearing loss can occur to anyone at any point in their lifetime. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders recently published a study that found that out of every 1000 children, 2 to 3 were born with some innate form of hearing impairment.

Whether or not you have hearing loss in your old age or young age, what truly matters is what you do about it. Untreated hearing loss is known to have several detrimental effects on physical and mental health in all age groups. People have been ashamed to wear hearing aids ever since the time of ancient Greece. Call it vanity or a difficulty in accepting their changes in their own self-perception, people can become reluctant to display their shortcomings to the public. Since hearing aids are often visible to outsiders, this may be a cause for the increased stigma against wearing hearing aids, according to a 2010 study conducted by a Gerontologist.

The reality is that times are changing for the better and people are more accepting of various disabilities including hearing loss, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This change began with the Americans with Disabilities Act which was passed in 1990. Hearing aids have been instrumental in this acceptance of hearing loss, since they have a significant positive impact on the hearing impaired individual’s ability to function in the workplace and at home.

Advances in technology means that hearing aids have become sleeker and more powerful. Nowadays you can get hearing aids that are pretty much invisible to the naked eye and come in various colors and prints. This can help people either hide their disability or flaunt it, whichever they choose, since hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed about!

Hearing loss has a more positive prognosis if detected early, which is why experts recommend having your hearing tested on an annual basis to detect any early signs of hearing loss. If you or your loved ones have hearing loss, make sure you get your hearing checked so that you no longer have to suffer the sounds of silence.