Breaking the stigmas regarding hearing impairment

  (photo credit: AdobeStock)
(photo credit: AdobeStock)

Did you know that there are 466 million people around the world who suffer from hearing impairment? If think you have a hearing impairment, be aware that you are not alone. 

Research studies indicate that many of the people who do not seek out treatment are influenced by the stigmas related to hearing impairment.  Note that these stigmas are mostly related to the manner in which other people perceive them.  However, often, this stigma is more than an ‘imagined’ stigma – it is real.  The ability to converse with others, to enjoy relationships and experiences is the key to us being able to fully enjoy our lives.  Consequently, understanding imagined stigmas and how to push them aside is of the utmost importance in the improvement and support that can be provided by hearing aids.

Imagined stigmas are related to three experiences:

  • Change in self-perception:  This stigma refers to the way in which people expect that they will be perceived if they wear a hearing aid.   They fear that wearing the hearing aids may cause them to look old or disabled.
  • Ageism:  Ageism is a perceived stigma that refers to the concern that others will perceive someone as old.  Even though people can enjoy the aging process, there are those who still worry about being classified in the ‘elderly group’, because they are aware of the various stigmas related with aging.
  • Pride:  The pride-related stigma reflects the concern that they may look less attractive if they start wearing hearing aids.

Treating hearing impairment as early as possible is the key to maintaining an enjoyable lifestyle.  It is important that people suffering from hearing loss are helped to overcome these stigmas, because treatment of the hearing loss will help those with hearing impairment to return to their routine and feel young and attractive again, thanks to a renewed sense of self confidence in their daily lives.  

  (credit: AUDIKA GROUP) (credit: AUDIKA GROUP)

Implications of Not Treating Hearing Impairment 

Support for a loved one with a hearing impairment can help ease his decision to go have a hearing test and to consider the option of hearing aids.  When children, siblings, partners, parents are involved in encouraging their loved ones to seek professional advice to improve their quality of life (both for the individual and his friends and family),  the person with the hearing impairment is likely to proceed to the next stage – because detection can give them a broader picture and explain how their hearing impairment can also impact their relationships with their loved ones.

If you or your loved one are hesitant to seek professional help for a hearing impairment, remember that: 

A hearing test or receiving hearing aids is a step that can help you or your loved one maintain a full life.Inevitably, choosing to overcome the reservations related to the imagined stigmas will help you understand that a large part of these imagined stigmas is not true at all. Most importantly, improving your hearing will help you feel better.  When you feel better, those around you also feel better. 

If you detect signs of a hearing loss or know someone who is probably suffering from hearing impairment, contact a hearing specialist in your area to set up a free hearing test today.

For more information: Medton-Hedim

This article was written in cooperation with Medton-Hedim