Hearing aids have been through several different perceptions in popular culture. At first, they were seen at modern marvels, miracles of technology that could let once deaf patients hear again. Then, as they became more mainstream hearing aids began to suffer from an image problem—those with hearing trouble were sometimes hesitant to wear a hearing aid because it was perceived unstylish and as a marker of older age (when hearing problems usually develop). This has particularly been the case with patients on the younger end of the spectrum, who may not want to be perceived as having hearing issues by their friends and colleagues.
There have been several studies on this to confirm that it’s in fact a common phenomenon. One study found that “Perceived stigma emerged as influencing decision-making processes at multiple points along the experiential continuum of hearing loss, such as initial acceptance of hearing loss, whether to be tested, type of hearing aid selected, and when and where hearing aids were worn”.
In another study, members of a hearing loss peer support group stated they were experiencing stress, partly due to denial and attempts to conceal the hearing loss. The participant’s fear of being labeled as someone with hearing loss ultimately delayed how soon they seeked treatment.
But something interesting has been happening as of late. As advances in technology have given rise to more and more new and exciting gadgets, people are becoming increasingly comfortable with wearing technology that enhances their lifestyle.
Hearables are a perfect example of this. There is now an entire industry for products that are not technically hearing aids but that allow people to improve their hearing to perform a variety of key functions. such as amplify certain sounds, connect to phones and computer audio signals, and even monitor fitness and heart rate.
Traditional hearing aids are benefitting from this phenomenon, because all of a sudden, it’s not viewed as uncool to be wearing body-enhancing technology. Current hearing devices are so much more than just aids but rather devices to enhance their lifestyle and communication.
If you or a loved one have been waiting on the sidelines because of fear that hearing aids look uncool, get in touch with us! We can try to set you up with a hearing aid that works for you, with the smallest footprint available and a design that you like.