Hearing loss is surprisingly common. Recent statistics suggest that as many as 37.5 million people in the US have some form of it. Yet it’s still stigmatized.
The stigma and shame around hearing loss leads many people to avoid treatment. According to the FDA, only one in five hearing-impaired people use hearing aids. This is tragic, because if your hearing is impaired, your life will be immeasurably improved with the right hearing aid.
Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t feel ashamed of hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Affects People of All Ages
For many people, the stigma surrounding hearing loss is tied up with the shame around growing older and the physical changes that go along with it. And it’s true that hearing loss is more common in older people.
However aside from the fact that there’s no shame in growing older hearing loss happens among people of all ages. Recent NICDC statistics show that:
- Two or three of every 1,000 children born in the United States have discernible hearing loss in one or both ears.
- About 15% of all Americans aged 18 or older—that’s 37.5 million people—have some hearing loss.
- Approximately one in eight Americans aged 12 years and up has detectable hearing loss in both ears.
Hearing Aids are Less Noticeable Than Ever
Some people associate hearing aids with the larger, more noticeable devices of yesteryear. However, modern hearing aids are sleeker, more discrete, and more comfortable than ever—very difficult to notice unless you know they’re there.
Even the larger styles — BTE (Behind The Ear) models that loop over the top of the ear and rest behind it — are significantly less visible these days. Some models are so unobtrusive they’re practically invisible.
The Technology Has Come a Long Way
Modern hearing aids have some impressive capabilities to help you hear better. A few include:
- Bluetooth connectivity that links to your iPhone, iPad, or computer—so you can stream music, movies, podcasts, and other audio directly into your ears.
- Remote controls that allow you to adjust the hearing aids without removing them from your ears.
- Enhanced fine-tuning to adjust to different sound situations, such as talking on the phone, increased background noise, or echoey rooms.
- Directional microphones positioned to enhance the sound in front of you, and minimize the noise coming from other directions—reducing background noise.
- Telecoils that sense magnetic signals from PA systems found in subways, museums, concert halls, and other places—and convert them to sound.
- The ability to program various settings into your hearing aids for different noise environments.
Hearing Aids Can Improve Your Life
People who get their hearing loss treated experience significant benefits in all areas of their lives, including:
- Relationships: Intimacy is improved when you can more easily hear and communicate with loved ones.
- Social life: Many people react to hearing loss by withdrawing socially—often out of shame. Improved hearing means no more embarrassment about not being able to hear conversations.
- Mental health: The stigma surrounding hearing loss can lead to isolation and depression. Improving your hearing can help you reclaim your mental health.
- Improved career prospects: Studies show that even mild hearing loss can have a negative impact on careers. Hearing aids can help you improve your effectiveness and communicate better at work.
There’s no question that the burden and shame of hearing loss can have a huge effect on your life. The solution is to seek treatment for your hearing problems—and we hope you will.
Make a Hearing Appointment Today in Manhattan or Brooklyn
Dr. Kathy Feng from New York Hearing Center can help you address your hearing problems and find a solution that works. Schedule an initial consultation at 212-966-3886 or email us directly by filling out the form on our Contact page.