Talking Hearing Loss Stigma

The History

As of 2017, approximately 14.5% of Australians suffer from a ranging level of hearing loss. With this number expected to rise to 18.9% by 2060 – almost half of which are under the age of 65*. Yet many people still associate their hearing loss with a feeling of premature aging, shame and sometimes even disability. Too often, therefore, most choose not to test their hearing for fear of test results indicating a loss. Optimal hearing health is important at all stages of life, so let’s tackle this stigma once and for all.

Five Senses

When you think about it, it all boils down to a simple fact: hearing is one of your five senses, and just as important as any of the others. If you find that you are struggling with seeing clearly at long or short distances, you go to see your optometrist. So why should it be any different when you feel you don’t hear so clearly? After all, when you see someone wearing glasses, you don’t think of them being old, and certainly not handicapped. Wearing hearing aids is no different. 

Besides this, while it is true that hearing loss can be associated with ageing, much like with your eyesight, there are several factors which can create or worsen a hearing loss. Some of these factors can include illnesses, during childhood or adulthood – infections or an injury to your head or ear directly. Loud noises can also cause your hearing loss. Either on a single occurrence or an ongoing recurrence – such as in a noisy workplace, for example. 

It’s perfectly normal to feel hesitant or upset, and have an adverse reaction to an initial hearing loss diagnostic. Remember it does not mean you are “getting old”, but rather merely that life changes. Hearing loss should certainly not stop your ability to hear the world around you clearly, which is why hearing devices exist. Once diagnosed with a hearing loss, it is essential that you wear your hearing aids. Not just one of them if you need two! – to avoid the possibility of auditory deprivation in the long run.

Hearing Heath

Remember, your hearing health is essential, especially when it is one of your primary senses. Under no circumstances should you feel ashamed of needing a bit of help to hear the world around you. Ending the stigma around hearing loss starts with acceptance and showing the world, it does not change who you are. You can add a personalised touch to your hearing aids, picking colours and styles which match you and your personality. Much like you would with a new pair of glasses. Most hearing aids even come with Bluetooth connectivity acting like earphones at the same time, connected directly to your phone or TV, streaming music straight into your ears – even cooler than EarPods!  And of course, talk to your friends and family about your hearing loss. Show off your hearing devices, and show everyone you are in control of your senses!

If after all of this, you are still feeling hesitant or uncomfortable about your hearing loss, there are several options to think about. 

Possible solutions

Firstly, keep in mind that hearing aid technology has vastly improved over the years, making devices smaller and more invisible. Hearing aids sitting behind your ear are only a couple of centimetres long and usually come in a range of colours. You can pick a colour which will easily blend with your skin tone or hair, and behind the ear, hearing aids also have near-transparent tubes or receivers inside your ear. More often than not, unless you are actively looking for it, you wouldn’t notice someone is wearing a hearing aid at all.

Alternatively, you can look at hearing aids fitting inside your ear canal. Once again, with colours to match skin tones or transparent.  And with your hearing being taken care of by a hearing device, you won’t give out any hints of a hearing loss when conversing with others – incognito! If that still isn’t for you, there is a wide range of assistive listening devices which can help you with your hearing without turning to hearing aids directly. 

If you would like to check a possible hearing loss, maybe look at options for hearing devices to suit you and your needs. Just have a chat about your hearing loss, Falls of Sound is always available to help. Book an appointment at 07 3378 5999 for Indooroopilly or 07 5443 8993 for Maroochydore. Or simply walk in and our friendly team will be happy to meet you.

*HCIA (June 2017)

Contact the team by tapping on the links below.

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