In his newest blog written exclusively for Starkey, Justin Osmond — who was born with a severe-to-profound hearing loss and has been wearing hearing aids since he was two years old — talks about why he’s got zero stigma when it comes to his hearing aids.
How many of you know someone who lives with an untreated hearing loss and has heard them say, “I don’t want to look old” or “I don’t want people to know I have a hearing impairment.” I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t mention that I used to have my own stigma with my own hearing challenges.
Research has shown that there is definitely a stigma around hearing aids. In fact, I find that people delay getting hearing help because they are worried about being perceived as “disabled” or “cognitively-impaired.” Other reasons are “vanity” and cultures that idolize beauty and the outward appearance.
One survey published in the Hearing Review asked people why they chose not to treat their hearing loss. Two statistics that stood out to me were:
- 35% did not want to admit to having a hearing loss publicly
- 29% were too proud to wear hearing aids
Hearing loss is more noticeable than hearing aids
But have you ever stopped and considered what is more noticeable? How about having to ask people to constantly repeat themselves? Or responding in group conversations that turn awkward and even inappropriate because you misheard or misunderstood what the group discussion is even about?
If you or someone you know finds yourself in this category, please know you are not alone. This is the story of my life. Having worn hearing aids since the age of two, I have learned from many valuable experiences and lessons that “a hearing loss is more obvious, noticeable, recognizable, perceivable, visible and stands out more than a hearing device.”
So how do we overcome this stigma around hearing devices? The first step is to accept your hearing loss and your need to get help and treatment. This first step led me to my personal motto which has been a guiding force throughout my life: “I may have a hearing loss, but my hearing loss does not have me.”
From a psychological and emotional standpoint, I may have a hearing loss, but I don’t let it have me… own me… control me… or define me. Instead, I let my hearing loss refine me… mold me… purge me… and build me into the person I’m meant to be.
From a physical standpoint, there’s good news because today’s hearing devices are technological marvels thanks to discreet cosmetic designs, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic programming, directional microphones, background noise reduction, smartphone compatibility and much more.
Starkey’s newest hearing aids are cooler than any earbuds
And the BEST NEWS of all? The sound barrier has been broken with the all-new Starkey Genesis AI. Genesis AI marks a new beginning for the hearing industry. Completely reimagined from the inside out, it's the only hearing technology system to feature an all-new processor, all-new sound, all-new design, and an all-new wearer experience.
It's the biggest leap forward ever in hearing technology! The ALL-NEW Starkey Neuro Processor has a mind of its own! This Neuro Sound Technology enables wearers to hear soft sounds without noise, distinguish words and speech more intuitively, and significantly reduces their listening effort.
Because of Genesis AI and all the other technological advances, I’m proud to be labeled as a “hearing aid user” and never again will I be ashamed or embarrassed to expose my hearing devices to anyone and everyone around me.
Don’t let your hearing loss go untreated. Take advantage of the amazing resources and help available to us so we can Hear Better and Live Better!
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