Hearing is a sense that allows us to build relationships with those around us and explore new ideas about the world and its cultures. By 2020, 40.12 million people in the United States have some level of hearing loss. 95% of hearing loss cases can be helped with technologies such as hearing aids. However, less than 20% of these cases actually take the initiative to aid their hearing condition.
One of the causes for this number is the existing stigma behind hearing loss. Several do not want to see themselves wearing hearing aids due to the social image of hearing aids and hearing loss that has developed over time. Hearing loss tends to be associated with traits such as old age, and many believe that wearing hearing aids will bring attention to their condition and make them look “handicapped”. Some see hearing aids as bulky and unattractive, partly due to the fact that advertisements for hearing aids focus on the appearance of hearing aids versus how hearing aids can help someone. Several people without hearing loss also express influencing opinions about hearing conditions that might delay their peers from getting aid. These social constructs discourage people from using hearing aids and other hearing technologies before even trying them. However, not being treated worsens their condition and inhibits their ability to interact with those around them.
We can all take action to help overcome this stigma. The first step is to educate yourself about various hearing conditions and the role hearing aids play in helping those with hearing loss. Talk openly to others about the misconceptions in this space. New technologies are developing everyday, and conducting research around them can provide more solutions for hearing loss users, as opposed to a single stereotypical option. This will all contribute to creating a new societal notion of hearing loss and hearing aids that will not hinder those with a potential hearing condition to speak about it with their community.
At Concha Labs, we are doing our own part to battle this stigma around hearing loss. Concha Labs has created a way for people to attain less noticeable hearing aids in a less expensive manner from a website that you can access in the comfort of your own home. With this technology, you have direct control over the quality of your hearing. We help you create a personalized sound profile that can easily be modified wherever you go, without the need for multiple appointments and high expenses.
We can all do our part to be advocates for those with hearing conditions and, as a society, overcome the stigma of hearing loss together.
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- “The Stigma of Hearing Loss.” Sound Relief Hearing Center, 20 Mar. 2019, www.soundrelief.com/the-stigma-of-hearing-loss/.
- McCormick, Beth. “Overcoming the Stigma Associated with Hearing Loss.” Starkey Hearing Technologies, 26 Feb. 2014, www.starkey.com/blog/2014/02/Overcoming-the-stigma-associated-with-hearing-loss.
- “Overcoming Social Stigmas of Hearing Aids.” Healthy Hearing, 23 Aug. 2013, www.healthyhearing.com/report/51480-Overcoming-social-stigmas-of-hearing-aids.
- Goman, Adele M, et al. “Addressing Estimated Hearing Loss in Adults in 2060.” JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery, American Medical Association, July 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5824202/.