The Stigma Of Wearing Hearing Aids

The stigma of wearing hearing aids came to light back in 2011 when the New York City Police Department decided to ban the use of hearing aids by its officers. Even by those whose hearing loss was caused in the line of duty through noise exposure (such as when patrolling the noisy New York subway network).

While the New York City Police Department might have its own reasons for the ban, there is no denying that people who wear a hearing aid are sometimes viewed unjustifiably as difficult to communicate with. There is also a view that wearing a hearing aid makes people look older or even handicapped. With a suitably fitted hearing aid however, these cosmetic concerns can be much diminished if not eliminated altogether.

Hearing aid technology has advanced dramatically in the last five years to provide much improved hearing in a compact and cosmetic design. As a result, it could now be argued that it is more obvious that a hearing aid is needed than when one is in use.

Why should I wear a hearing aid?

If concerns over being stigmatised for wearing a hearing aid remain, consider the following:

1. Put your health first

Using a hearing aid is prescribed for health reasons, not cosmetic. If wearing the device brings improvement in quality of life, it should be the first consideration and all the other concerns are secondary. There is also increasing evidence that there is a link between hearing loss and dementia see this recent study from the University of Newcastle: Understanding the Link between Hearing Loss and Dementia.

2. Communication Improvement

In many instances with contemporary hearing aids, people genuinely only notice an improvement in communication and not the physical presence as to what may be providing it.

3. Be open with friends and co-workers

If you are concerned about how your peers might look at you now that you need to wear a hearing aid, take the time to openly explain why you need to wear the device and the improvements it will likely bring you. They will also notice the difference in your ability to hear when you wear them.

4. Choose a device that suits you

Hearing aids are micro-computers which are designed to enhance external sounds. There are many models and types to choose from and some types are very discreet making them a good combination between practicality and cosmetic concerns. You should always look for a device that can improve your hearing no matter its design, but nowadays the two can go hand in hand.

5. Greatly Improved Quality of Life

Hearing impairment can sometimes lead to withdrawal from certain activities (which often happens slowly; it may surprise you to discover certain activities or situations that have been avoided). In many cases, not only are these activities eagerly pursued once again, better hearing can improve self-confidence opening up new activities to explore and enjoy.

About Hearing Direct

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Author: Stuart Canterbury

Picture of Stuart Canterbury

Stuart joined the hearing aid industry just at the start of the digital revolution in the mid 1990s. He was part of a team that transformed one of the minor manufacturers in to a major player in both production and retail of high technology hearing aids. This journey included working on public / private programmes to accelerate the uptake of high technology hearing aids across a wide distribution. This passion for improving the value and access to good quality hearing lead to the foundation of HearingDirect. After almost a decade and hundreds of thousands of customers we are starting to establish online sales as a practical, cost-effective channel to provide great hearing to all those who need help.