Living with hearing aids sounds very straightforward – right? After all, if you need something to improve your quality of life such as surgery or physiotherapy or even glasses most people wouldn’t hesitate. In fact glasses have now become such a fashion accessory that people with no eyesight problems wear them just because they are made by one fashion designer or another.
So why do so few people who need them not wear hearing aids?
The worldwide figure for hearing loss is approximately a mind boggling 360 million.
In the UK alone there are an estimated 10 million people who have some form of hearing loss. Yet only about 1/5 of those actually wear a hearing aid.
I have had hearing issues since I was 8 years old (I’m now 50), yet have only been wearing my aids for the last 5 years. The reasons are varied and are the same ones that I believe prevent most people from doing the same. From talking to a varied range of people and from my own personal experience I have identified 5 main reasons that make people reluctant to to wear something that can quite literally be a life changer.
- “My hearing is not to bad.” The old denial excuse!!
- I used this one for so many years that I actually came to believe it myself. Even when the audiologist clearly showed me that my hearing was getting worse I always convinced myself that I could cope without help. When I couldn’t hear conversation, it was because the other person wasn’t speaking loudly enough. When I couldn’t hear the car approaching, it was because something else distracted me. Never my fault!!
- This is the most common excuse I have found in younger people, particularly teenagers. Being a teen is difficult enough, having to go through all the various struggles that they do, trying to look cool, discovering the opposite/same sex, school pressure and peer pressure. Now try and tell them that they have a disability and need to use hearing aids. Not going to happen!!
- Hearing aids are only for old people.
- The excuse I personally used right throughout my twenties and thirties. I had myself convinced that admitting I needed help with my hearing was the same as admitting I was old. I didn’t want to see myself as anything other than a fun loving, healthy and independent person. Even when I couldn’t hear the baby monitor of our daughter crying. The monitor must be broken. It can’t be me!!
- The hearing aids don’t fit right or they hurt to wear.
- This is the excuse for those people who can no longer deny that they need help. There can be an element of truth in this one. They can be uncomfortable at the beginning. They can hurt if they are not fitted correctly and they do take time to get used to. So thats it then, stick them in the drawer and forget about them!!
- There is an element of this one attached to all the other excuses and I certainly know in my own case it was the over riding factor in not using hearing aids for so long. I used all the other excuses to justify my decision to myself. I was simply too embarrassed to be seen wearing a hearing aid!!
So how do we change this perception?
The last five years that I have been wearing my hearing aids have been the the most productive of my life. My social life has never been better. In fact my all round quality of life is second to none.
We need to have a discussion that opens up and can dispel the obstacles that prevent people from having the very best quality of life available. We can look at all the various types of hearing aids out there. Look at what might be suitable for various ages of people. The two I have shown here are BTE (behind the ear) and ITE (in the ear).
We will look at the various other issues that tend to be associated with hearing loss such as tinnitus and balance issues. We can look at all the various accessories available to help in these areas.
I will be writing a series of blogs and posts highlighting my experience with all of these issues on an ongoing basis.
I will be looking at and discussing products that can make a difference to you.
This website aims to help you or someone you know to get through their fears and embarrassment and ultimately lead you to the better quality of life that you deserve.