Hearing loss is incredibly prevalent, with 15% of people age 18 and over in the United States reporting some kind of trouble hearing. As you might imagine, those numbers increase in older ages, with 50% of those age 75 and higher experiencing disabling hearing loss. With a condition that is so common, one might wonder why some people are ashamed to admit that they have hearing loss. Of course, the reasons people are ashamed of hearing loss are just as varied as the experiences of those people. Yet, there are some common explanations for the shame that can be associated with hearing loss, even though the condition is incredibly common.
Hearing Loss and Social Stigma
One of the most common reasons that some people are ashamed to admit to hearing loss has to do with the social environment surrounding the condition. When a person has hearing loss, it can make communication difficult, creating a range of obstacles between the speaker and the listener in everyday conversations. When asked, most people would admit that hearing loss is not the fault of the person who experiences it. However, frustration in the midst of conversation is quite common. When faced with the difficulties in conversations, some people may become exasperated, annoyed that they have to repeat themselves, and even detached from the person who suffers from hearing loss. Repeatedly facing these conditions, can lead to shame, resentment, and anger on the part of the person who is hard of hearing, even though they might understand that hearing loss is not their fault. These strained conversations can lead to further social problems, including tense relationships and even social isolation, preferring to avoid social interaction rather than letting others know that hearing has become difficult.
Hearing Loss and Self-Reliance
Another common cause of shame among those who have hearing loss is the diminishing sense of self-reliance that can accompany the condition. When a person loses some hearing ability, it can become difficult to function in the ways that were formerly independent. Whereas a person might have felt able to live on their own without any help, hearing loss can force a person to rely on others for assistance and safety in everyday life. Although there is nothing wrong with relying on others for help, some people associate a loss of self-reliance with a feeling of shame and embarrassment. As hearing loss increases, that lack of independence can increase, as well, leading a person to feel ashamed, as if they are becoming a burden on friends, family, and loved ones.
The Benefits of Treatment
Although people experience shame around hearing loss for a number of reasons, the good news is that treatment is available and ever better at solving the problems posed by hearing loss. New hearing aids offer solutions to a wide array of hearing challenges, including hearing voices in a noisy room, detecting the phone ringing, and going around town completing everyday tasks. The benefits of treatment for hearing loss are countless, including an improved mood, social connections, and even getter cognition later in life. In addition to these many practical, emotional, and social benefits, hearing aids can also relieve the feeling of shame that some people experience. Whether as a result of social stigma or a loss of self-reliance, hearing aids make it possible to move through the world without the negativity that once might have been associated with hearing loss. The improvements are countless, and the feeling of regained independence might be foremost among them.
Pacific Hearing Care
If you or someone you love seems to feel shame around the condition of hearing loss, why not take the opportunity to seek a solution? A consultation and hearing exam with our team at Pacific Hearing Care is the first step in the direction of the hearing aids you need. With vast knowledge of the options available and which will be suited to your particular form of hearing loss, we will be able to give priceless advice and diagnosis. You don’t have live with the feeling of shame around hearing loss any longer! Make the appointment right away to seek assistance and to relieve the nagging feelings of negativity that come along with hearing loss.