For many active, young-at-heart people over retirement age, the words “hearing aids” can be akin to profanity. Some of these people are afraid that getting hearing aids would make them look old or would make others question their ability to perform regular independent tasks. Even worse, people might start to treat them like they’re incapable of doing the simplest things, such as going to the store or interacting at a family gathering. When others underestimate us, we have a natural drive to prove them wrong, but avoiding hearing aids is not the solution to this problem. Rather than leading to limitations, hearing aids have the opposite effect of opening new worlds of possibility that had seemed to be foreclosed. When we get assistance for hearing loss, human connections become much easier, and we are better equipped to make sense of the world around us. Let’s take a paired look at the assumptions some people make about hearing aids alongside the reality of the positive changes they can bring.
Do hearing aids limit our interactions or expand them?
Some people fear that getting hearing aids will make others treat them differently. When a person sees a hearing aid in the ear, the worry is that they will interact as if that person is incapable of understanding. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. Hearing aids expand our interactions in countless ways. When we are out and about in the world, we are able to chat freely with the people working the cash register or stocking the shelves at the grocery store.
If we pass a stranger on the street, hearing aids can make it possible to hear questions and to respond in kind. They also assist with more intimate conversations with loved ones and friends. Whereas interactions might have been limited through fragmented sounds, hearing aids make it possible to understand what others have to say as a continuous whole. Although it is possible that some people might make assumptions about those who have hearing aids, they are in fact a great assistant to expanded interaction.
Hearing aids actually make you appear younger!
Many people of retirement age are afraid that others will perceive them as “old.” Despite active lifestyles and youthful pursuits, the worry is that hearing aids will make others judge them as elderly and close off some opportunities. Again, the opposite is more likely the case.
When a person is constantly asking others to repeat themselves and to speak up, that can give the impression that they have a physical limitation. Those limitations can be quite real for a person with hearing loss who isn’t able to make out all the meaningful parts of conversations.
However, hearing aids can step in with assistance that bring a youthful and quick-witted response in these contexts. Rather than demonstrating a struggle to communicate, hearing aids make it possible to understand others and to banter with a sharp intellect and sense of humor. These interactions affirm that we are still able to hold our own.
Do hearing aids constrain our activities or facilitate them?
Some may worry that wearing hearing aids would get in the way of their favorite activities. Although hearing aids come in a range of weather and moisture resistance, many of them can withstand the most rigorous of activities and exercise. Hearing loss, on the other hand, can pose a serious challenge and even a risk in these activities.
Taking a job outdoors or riding a bike can be dangerous when we don’t have our hearing ability as a first line of defense from emergency conditions. Hearing aids step in with the assistance we need to continue taking part in our favorite activities, even those that expose us to dirt, moisture, and sweat. In each of these cases, the assumptions about hearing aids are quite the opposite, and untreated hearing loss poses the limitation that we are eager to avoid.
If you are letting fear of others’ perceptions keep you from getting hearing assistance, these contradictions can point you toward taking the first step: scheduling your hearing test. Treatment makes it possible to continue your favorite pursuits rather than facing limitations!