Our society has a natural way of imposing societal labels and attaching stigmas to certain circumstances, qualities and “types” of people. This static labeling can result in feelings of humiliation, embarrassment and many people ashamed and unwilling to explore a solution.
The Impact of the Stigma of Hearing Loss
Unfortunately, hearing loss often falls victim to this same stigma and feelings of embarrassment and shame. Due to the stigma of hearing loss, which is that people will find you old, unattractive and disabled, people who struggle with this condition sometimes ignore their hearing loss and hold back from seeking treatment.
Have you been letting the stigma of hearing loss hold you back?
“People suffering from hearing loss sometimes see themselves in a different way. They might focus on the contrast between their former self and their current self…able vs. disabled and smart versus cognitively impaired,” According to Margaret I. Wallhagen, PhD, GNP-BC, AGSF, FAAN, Author of The Stigma of Hearing Loss.
Sadly, our societal pressures can be enough to deter us from seeking help for health issues, such as hearing loss, that may hold a stigma or embarrassment. We need to work to change this! The fact is, living with untreated hearing loss is usually quite obvious to those around a person experiencing hearing loss. Hearing loss is hard to pretend you do not have, especially when the hearing loss is severe.
When hearing loss is left untreated it will only continue to get worse. Hearing loss will not correct itself and it could also lead to other serious health issues, such as cognitive decline because the brain is no longer receiving hearing signals, social isolation, anxiety, depression and more. According to a recent study by the American Academy of Audiology, a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s increases by 20% for every 10db of hearing loss and that approximately one in three adults over the age of 60 have more than a 10db level of hearing loss. Despite how common hearing loss is (about 1 in five Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear. That is equal to about 48 million people) the stigma continues. Unfortunately, failure to seek treatment can cause long-term consequences to your health.
Fighting the Stigma
So how can we fight the stigma of hearing loss? Education is the answer. By educating people about the challenges of hearing loss and the benefits of treatment, we can foster a new vision of hearing loss and support positive outcomes for those hiding their symptoms. We are working to create a more positive outlook on hearing health.
If you suffer from hearing loss, don’t let the stigma hold you back. I know this is easier said than done, but although you might feel that a hearing aid makes you appear old, in many ways it will actually assist you in regaining more of your youth. Once your hearing aid(s) is working for you, you will see a change in your need to depend on other people and their hearing abilities. You’ll realize that you no longer will need to ask people to repeat themselves and you likely won’t mishear conversations the way you used to. You may notice you are feeling less anxiety about social interactions and that you are looking forward to getting out and enjoying the company of others.
The benefits of wearing hearing aids
Hearing aids could be the next step for you to really live a fulfilled and happy life. Hearing aids have also come a very long way! Hearing aids today can help you retain your social life, your mental faculties, and perhaps even your career. Plus, modern hearing aids are exceptionally small and inconspicuous, so you don’t need to worry about standing out from the crowd.
If you’re eager to conceal the fact that you suffer from hearing loss, check out a hearing aid style like the Lyric©. 100% invisible, the Lyric© is the only deep ear hearing aid technology that offers clients complete invisibility. Thanks to its unique placement, patients can enjoy the benefits of better hearing without anyone ever knowing they’re using a hearing aid.
If you’ve been putting off a hearing test, you’re not alone. On average people wait nearly seven years from when they first notice a change in their hearing before they seek help. Seven years of strained relationships at home and at work, missing out on the sounds of the world around you, and risking health issues linked to untreated hearing loss. That’s no way to live!
Get hearing health help now
If you’re ready to get the hearing loss help you deserve, please reach out to us. Our practice is committed to working together to bring the most quality hearing healthcare to our patients in order to achieve our overall goal of improving the quality of life for every one of our patients. Call Physicians Hearing Solutions today at (401) 921-0181 to schedule a free hearing screening and learn more about your individual and specific hearing health.