The Stigma Surrounding Hearing Aids: Debunking Myths and Embracing Reality

The Stigma Surrounding Hearing Aids: Debunking Myths and Embracing Reality

by | Oct 11, 2023 | Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

It’s intriguing how society has accepted some tools that enhance our lives while being wary of others.

Eyeglasses, for instance, which correct vision, have become an emblem of sophistication and even fashion.

Yet when it comes to the realm of auditory enhancement, there exists an unfounded stigma.

Disconcerting Findings from a New Study

According to a recent independent study commissioned by Sennheiser, an alarming one in three individuals between the ages of 45 and 70 feel uneasy or embarrassed when wearing an assisted hearing device.

If you contrast this statistic with the perception of glasses, where merely one in 10 express similar sentiments, the disparity becomes evident.

This study, which encompassed respondents from diverse countries like the US, UK, Germany, France, and Australia, sheds light on the prevailing societal misconceptions surrounding hearing aids.

World Hearing Day: A Wake-Up Call

World Hearing Day, recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 3, emphasizes the importance of ear and hearing care. An astounding one in five individuals globally wrestle with some form of hearing loss.

WHO’s projections further underline the urgency of the matter: by 2030, almost 630 million people will have hearing disabilities. By mid-century, that number could spike to a staggering 900 million.

In the US alone, 15 percent of adults over 18 years old admit to hearing challenges.

Furthermore, untreated hearing loss stands out as a significant risk factor for other conditions, with dementia being the most concerning.

The Waiting Game: A Risky Proposition

Reports from the Hearing Loss Association of America suggest that individuals typically wait an astonishing seven years before seeking assistance for their hearing troubles.

The Sennheiser study reveals that 36 percent of those between 45 and 70 have difficulty discerning conversations in loud settings like restaurants. Even more concerning is that 39 percent in this age bracket admit to feigning comprehension in noisy environments—pretending to understand when, in fact, they cannot.

Innovations Paving the Way Forward

While the statistics are daunting, technological advances are a beacon of hope.

Sennheiser’s recent launch, the Conversation Clear Plus, serves as a testament. These innovative wireless earbuds prioritize the voice of the person you’re engaging with while diminishing background distractions.

This clever design ensures clearer, more comprehensible conversations even amid overwhelming noise.

Combating Stigma, Building Awareness

The commissioning of the Sennheiser survey stemmed from the desire to confront the undue social stigma linked to hearing aids.

As Sonova Consumer Hearing GVP Martin Grieder articulates, the objective is to spotlight the ubiquity of specific hearing challenges.

By doing so, the hope is to initiate conversations that will progressively dispel these misconceptions, ensuring that reluctance to wear assisted hearing devices becomes a relic of the past.

Concluding Thoughts

Your hearing is as much a part of your identity as your ability to see or speak. As society progresses, it’s crucial to shed preconceived notions and embrace tools and technologies that ensure fuller, more vibrant lives.

So, if you or someone you know is contemplating the use of a hearing device, remember: it’s not about what’s on your ears but how you choose to experience the world.

With over 100 years of combined experience, our team are on hand to help you. If you’d like to get in touch, you can call us at (310) 909-0180, or you can request a callback by clicking here.

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Gregory Frazer, PhD, AuD, CCC-A, ABA, NBC-HIS

Adjunct Professor UCSD/San Diego State U Audiology Program Adjunct Professor University of Pacific Audiology Program Adjunct Professor AT Still University Audiology Program Adjunct Professor Pacific University Audiology Program Dr. Gregory Frazer entered private practice Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensing in 1982. For 14 years he owned and operated Hearing Care Associates, which had 23 offices and was one of the largest audiology private practices in the U.S. Dr. Frazer is a well-known clinician and teacher and was the first audiologist to obtain dual doctorates in Audiology, both a PhD. in Audiology as well as the new Clinical Doctorate of Audiology, the AuD. He is Board Certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, American Academy of Audiology, and the National Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. Dr. Frazer specializes in the evaluation and treatment of vertigo, dizziness, and hearing and balance disorders. Dr. Frazer is experienced in working with infants, children, and adults. He is semi-fluent in Spanish and Sign Language.

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