The electric hearing aid device has been helping people better hear the world around them since the early 20th century1. However, even with decades of proven success, many with hearing issues are still reluctant to incorporate the device into their daily lives. Why is this?
The root of the problem may vary from person to person, but often includes the fear of being perceived as old or weak. The hard truth is that our society does not respect the older among us the way that it should. When you get down to the heart of it, older persons may often be treated negatively or, worse, ignored altogether. The stigma is undeniable.
Let’s further explore some possible reasons why someone may refuse hearing aids:
Possibly the most common of all reasons for not wanting to wear hearing aids is pride. For many, wearing hearing aids is admitting that they’re getting older. To that end, it is also an admission that one is indeed not immortal. This leap of thought is morbid but prevalent nonetheless.
Letting go of the hopeful grasp on youth is not an easy task for some. Most people who refuse hearing aids will choose to ignore the signs of hearing loss (missing words or phrases in conversation, talking to people from close range, watching TV at an abnormally high volume) and simply try to get by in order to avoid using a device.
As people age, the body declines. This is a fact of nature. However, in our youth-centric culture, that does not always prevent people from jumping to assumptions in regard to age and its effects on one’s abilities. Hearing aids are no different. For example, an uninformed person may assume that someone with a hearing aid is inefficient and does not complete tasks quickly. An individual may be reluctant to wear one due to fear of age-related judgment being passed – by friends, family, co-workers or even strangers.
Fear of New Challenges
A new medical device such as a hearing aid is a significant change in one’s life. That’s the key word here. CHANGE. For older individuals who are accustomed to their particular way of life, deviation or interruption are not exactly welcome occurrences. The process of learning how to use a hearing aid and how to adapt it to daily life can be daunting for some. Physicians and families can help alleviate the fear with education, assistance and, most of all, patience.