The over-emphasis on the size and discreet positioning of hearing aids may contribute to the stigmatisation of hearing loss.

It is worrying that many people with hearing loss are suffering unnecessarily due to the stigma attached to hearing loss.

The stigma is aided by advertisers, the general public, and even those with hearing loss themselves. By highlighting and over emphasizing the size and discrete positioning of hearing aids, role players imply that hearing aids, and therefore hearing loss should be hidden. As a result, people believe that hearing aids and / or hearing technology will make them look less beautiful and / or incompetent. To try to avoid these prejudices, some people avoid visiting an audiologist or simply pretend that the hearing loss does not exist, with traumatic consequences. I think the key to fighting wrong thinking is by putting more effective disability awareness- and sensitisation programs in place. The more we learn about hearing impairment or deafness, the clearer it will become that medical intervention and alternative forms of communication are socially acceptable. When people feel ashamed of their hearing loss, they are reluctant to admit it, but unattended hearing loss poses greater dangers to all involved.

Compiled by Fanie du Toit