Hearing loss affects almost 30 million Americans, but many who are affected don’t seek help. Why? People often don’t seek the support they need because of societal stigma. The shame surrounding hearing loss persists due to ageism and negative self-perception. Luckily, those affected are currently fighting the stigma and encouraging people to seek care.
Ageism and Negative Self-Perception
Before fighting the stigma, it’s essential to understand why it exists in the first place. The two main reasons for the social stigma about reduced hearing are ageism and negative self-perception.
Refusal to seek care often results because hearing loss is incorrectly associated with old age. In short, people don’t want to be labeled as ‘old’ by their peers. Those with hearing aids are often portrayed as disconnected or uncooperative—while this is far from the truth. Hearing loss affects all kind of people; it makes no distinction based on age or occupation.
Losing your hearing can be traumatic. Some people experience negative self-perception when hearing loss occurs. According to research, those affected may experience anger, denial, isolation, fatigue, and withdrawal from their social circles. These conditions are true regardless of age and contribute to lower self-esteem for the afflicted.
Fighting the Stigma
It can be challenging to identify how individuals can fight this societal stigma with the issues listed previously. Firstly, education must play a role in fighting the stigma about reduced hearing. Education allows others to separate fact from fiction and appropriately navigate hearing loss for themselves and their loved ones.
Another critical part of combating this stigma is promoting acceptance of hearing loss. Losing the ability to hear is a distressing event. Sometimes it is best to seek expert help to encourage acceptance of a hearing condition. Support and acceptance allow others to seek the help they need when they become impaired. If you or a loved one are suffering from hearing loss, it’s essential to work with an expert to acknowledge your condition and mitigate it. Modern hearing aids are as inconspicuous as possible, reliable, and convenient. Schedule a consultation with Amdahl Hearing to find the right solution for you or a family member.