• The phenomenon of hearing aid stigma: the shadows of having a hearing loss, creating a possibility to end the stigma

      Santana, Maria (2019-05)
      Approximately 40 million Americans have been diagnosed with a unilateral or bilateral hearing loss, but only 25% of them wear hearing aids. People hesitate getting hearing devices due to the fear of being perceived as uncool, socially awkward or someone with a disability. In addition, the costs to access this assistive device might be one of the main reasons why the elderly population are reticent to pursue amplification. Even though the elderly population is more likely to experience hearing loss, it can occur at any age. The phenomenon of Hearing Aid Stigma varies depending on the age of the person because it affects personal and work relationships, physical health, and self confidence. Even though some individuals do acquire hearing aids many of them still try to hide them. This is because they may feel embarrassed, and they do not want to be perceived as “disabled.” For my thesis, I will look at the relevant research literature regarding the following topics: ramifications of Hearing Aid Stigma on obtaining amplification and effects on communicative ability, the influence/relationship of social factors and economic status on the decision to acquire hearing aids, and benefits of aural rehabilitation on improving perceived Hearing Aid Stigma and availability of aural rehabilitation counseling tools that focus on Hearing Aid Stigma. Based on these findings, I will create an educational/self assessment tool in order for audiologists to better understand their patients, have a better communicative relationship, and make the patient feel more comfortable regarding the acceptance of hearing aids.