Some people still worry about the stigma associated with wearing hearing aids despite the continued growth and advances in modern hearing technology. The incorrect association may be based on outdated perceptions about how hearing devices look. However, that stigma is changing as more people learn about how hearing devices can improve quality of life.
The Presence of Hearing Loss
It’s not uncommon to think of hearing loss as a problem for “older people.” You may hesitate to get hearing aids because of that stigma. But the truth is hearing loss affects people of all ages. About 35% of American adults 65 and older have hearing loss, but approximately 15% of adults 18 and older report some trouble hearing as well.
Two to three of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are born with a detectable degree of hearing loss. The ever-growing use of headphones and earbuds also raises the likelihood of children developing hearing loss. So, hearing loss isn’t unique to people of a certain age, and hearing aids are becoming a common sight among children, teens and adults.
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Advances in Hearing Aid Technology
One of the biggest misconceptions about hearing aids is they only amplify the sound volume. Today’s hearing aids do so much more than that, acting as miniature computers that filter, process and clarify audio.
Digital hearing aid technology is more sophisticated than its predecessors. You can buy hearing aids with customizable programming to suit your unique hearing needs. Some styles have settings that automatically adjust to new surroundings, so you don’t’ have to fiddle with buttons. Directional microphones reduce background noise and make it easier to hear conversations.
Bluetooth hearing aids connect wirelessly to compatible smartphones, tablets, televisions and computers, so you can stream phone calls, music and audio right into your hearing devices.
Gone are the days of clunky, beige hearing aids. You can choose from various hearing aid styles, and some are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Even behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aids come in slimmer designs and skin tones that make them more discreet. In-the-canal (ITC) devices sit flush against the shell of your ear, and completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids fit snuggly in your ear canal.
The increased education about hearing loss has contributed to the availability of assistive listening devices and accommodations in businesses and public spaces. Telecoil hearing aids connect to hearing loops in public buildings and improve your listening experience. You can find hearing loops in movie theatres, concert halls, auditoriums, performance spaces and places of worship.
Learning about hearing aids and advocating for your needs can help you become more aware of discriminatory behavior. It’s also important to note that laws protect you against ableism discrimination in the workplace. Your employer is obligated to provide you with the environment and tools you need to succeed, regardless of your hearing ability. That may include closed captions on video conferences or written materials to help you follow along during a presentation.
Hearing Associates is committed to providing you with comprehensive hearing services and hearing aids that suit your unique hearing loss. Call 888-760-2032 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.