When it comes to hearing loss, we tend to put people into two groups. People who have it and people who don’t. Not only does that ignore the nuance and complexity of hearing loss, but it can also prevent people who need it from seeking proper support.
Let’s examine why this black and white thinking can be harmful to those who struggle to hear.
Some May Not Get the Help they Need
People who have hearing loss exist on a spectrum. Some have milder cases and can largely get by reading lips and filling in gaps. Others are completely unable to hear regardless of any treatment or medical intervention. Many exist in-between.
By viewing hearing loss as an all-or-nothing condition, we run the risk of minimizing the struggles of people with mild to moderate hearing loss. They may be less likely to treat their condition or ask for accommodations at work because they don’t feel like their problem is severe enough to warrant it.
Worries About Being Stigmatized for Hearing Loss
People with more severe hearing loss are often incorrectly deemed as being less capable than others. They face discrimination and live in a world that still fails to adequately accommodate them in many settings.
People with less severe forms of hearing loss witness this treatment and may worry that if they are open about their own struggles to hear they will be viewed in the same light.
Forces People to Prove Their Hearing Loss
Many people have invisible disabilities. This means their condition is not always obvious to other people. People with hearing loss often fit this description. They may use discreet hearing aids, lip-reading, and other communication strategies to interact with people. However, just because they can carry on a conversation at work or when out to eat at Magnolia Café doesn’t mean that they don’t struggle with hearing loss.
Nearly 60% of Americans with disabilities feel that others question their disability. This puts them in an unfair position. They either have to decide to disclose their hearing loss and face possible skepticism from those around them or keep quiet and risk not receiving all the accommodations they may need.
Working to better understand the complexity of hearing loss and acknowledging the variation in individual experiences will allow us as a society to better serve those in need.
If you are concerned about your hearing loss, no matter the severity, call River ENT and book an appointment today to get the help that you deserve.