Hearing loss affects people of all ages, and will affect several aspects of people’s lives including learning, academic and job performance, and communication with family and friends. Unfortunately, hearing loss and hearing aids carry a stigma- suggesting people with hearing aids are old and weak. The average person struggling with hearing loss will wait 7 years before having a hearing test and addressing their hearing loss.
Canadian Health Measures Survey states between 2012-2015, 40% of adults ages 20-79 showed at least a slight loss in one or both ears.
78% of adults aged 60-79
40% of adults aged 40-59
15% of adults aged 20-39
What is preventing people from doing something about their hearing loss?
Stigma and self-image – this is a big one. Historically hearing aids have been associated with becoming old and weak. Many people do not seem to have an issue asking people to repeat themselves, and do not realize the frustration that this can cause for family members and friends. It is also common for people to withdraw from social environments, but communication has become too challenging. As hearing aids become more widely used, this stigma will decrease. Nobody thinks twice about seeing a person wear glasses, why should wearing hearing aids be any different?
Fear that nothing can be done – hearing aid technology has come a long way since they were first developed. People often think of hearing aids as the ones their grandparents wore. Not only are today’s hearing aids much smaller and cosmetically attractive, but the technology and sound quality has improved greatly with research and development into digital hearing aids.
Realizing the importance of hearing weather it is a child, youth or adult, hearing is a vital importance to our overall health and well-being.
Children: hearing loss can affect language development and social development.
Youths: hearing loss can be attributed to decreased academic performance and social isolation.
Adults: hearing loss can have an impact on job performance, stress on relationships with family and friends.
Overall hearing loss causes people to become more withdrawn and socially isolated. This can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression.
For those affected by cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is suggested that untreated hearing loss can speed up the symptoms of cognitive decline.