"I don't want anyone to know I have hearing loss."

By Dr. Anne Simon

December 10, 2018

I began to fit hearing aids over 20 years ago. One of my earliest surprises was the need to hide hearing loss. I could tell you stories about some of those first patients. Before testing, it was obvious who needed treatment. It didn’t take an audiology degree to tell. We’ve all seen and recognized those signs.

There's the telltale look in the eye when someone is trying to decode what was said. Or the slight sideways turn of the head as if an ear was something you point with. You've likely heard the request to repeat phrases like, “What was that?” or “Say again.” Then there's the raised speaking volume.

In my experience, the need to hide hearing loss is now less common. Improvements in technology led to smaller, sleeker designs. Devices worn on the ears are more common: Bluetooth for smart phones, ear buds for music players. The social stigma for on-ear devices has gone much of the way toward eyeglasses as fashion items.

The result has been fewer people who feel the need to ‘hide’ their hearing loss. But, those who want to ‘hide’ feeling very vulnerable if their hearing loss is uncovered. Why? For some it might be a loss of face. For some, the reasons can be much deeper.

Let me offer two thoughts for encouragement. First, others don’t see your hearing loss how you think they see your hearing loss. Your loved ones won’t be at all troubled by your use of a device. What they will notice is the relative ease they have conversing with you. They will enjoy intimate conversation with you without the burden of repeat requests.

Second, a problem fixed is a lot less of a burden then a problem put off. One person’s hearing loss is another person’s knee, hip, eyes, or foot. Solving the problem removes the burden of carrying it.

So will people take notice of your hearing aids? Perhaps. What they will notice is how much more enjoyable your company is. Time with you will be more natural. Conversation more intimate, more fluid. They will notice the change in you. How different you carry yourself with a burden relieved. Will they realize this is because you have something sitting in or on your ear, likely not. They will just realize you are . . . You, again.

If you or a loved one find conversation difficult, an audiologic evaluation is the best, next step. If hearing aids are appropriate, you have a wide range of options. Invisible. Nearly invisible. Obvious. And if you happen to be in the mood, you can have hearing aids in the most vibrant colors you can image. Yes! You can announce to the world, with pride and boldness, that hearing loss will be no trouble for you. Call my office to schedule your consultation today! 208-746-7022.

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