Are you embarrassed to wear hearing aids?

Hi All,
I was wondering if anyone else feels uncomfortable and embarrassed to wear hearing aids? I know they are great and very helpful ---- but I still am not comfortable telling people I have a hearing loss and wear hearing aids. I welcome your thoughts on how to deal with this. Thank you! Betty

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Betty, I understand your situation, and it’s always difficult for a while to adjust. Everyone has this discomfort to some degree. I can’t think of anything in particular to lessen your discomfort except to just “do it”, by that I mean tell everyone you come in contact with that you are hearing impaired, then over time that embarrassment goes away to either a greater or lesser extent.

I’ve been wearing aids for 38 years and still feel a little uncomfortable admitting my loss.

While I understand the problem, when I first got my aids last year I made a point of not simply letting people perhaps notice I had them but actually telling a lot of people up front that I had gotten them, pointing out how small and relatively unnoticeable they are. In three or four instances the people I told actually said they were encouraged that they ought to look into their need for aids. (I’m 66 and tend to hang out with a lot of folks in my age range)

One couple was kind of humorous. The wife privately said her husband was losing his hearing and needed aids but that she was alright. The husband, later, privately told me his wife needed them but his hearing was alright.

I have not experienced a single person who seemed to reject me, look down on me or otherwise think anything I should be embarrassed about.

My experience in all of life is embarrassment usually arises for only imagined reasons, just be who you are. The good people always rise to the top.

I got HA’s last week for the first time in my life. I am 48 years old, which seems a little young. But I am not embarrassed at all. I see it like wearing glasses. At some point we need them and that’s life. I can hear better with my HA’s, so I don’t have a problem.

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When I first got my aids eight years ago, I was self-conscience about them, which led me to getting CIC. I have found, more times than not, when my aids come up in conversation, the other party has a hearing loss and has (or doesn’t have) aids, or knows someone who has (or needs) aids.

My next set will most likely be RIC/RITE or BTE; as my hair is very short (what little hair I have), I expect the new aids to be more noticeable.

A great conversation starter! :smiley:

Only very old old people are hard of hearing…therefore if I wear aids I am OLD. What a crock. I can wear glasses and not be seen as old.

If aids were mass retailed like glasses, they wouldn’t have an age stigma. Ed :wink:

I am as embarrased about wearing my hearing aids as I am a ring or a hat.:cool:

Actually, as others have stated, it is making my friends say “you know, I really should get my hearing checked as I cannot seem to hear as well as I used to!”

My head is completely shaved and I still could care less, most people are so wrapped in themselves, they don’t even notice!

I am 43 and I have only had my HA’s for a little over a month. Still getting used to them and still new enough that I am always fidgeting with them. But I can already tell you that I was more embarrassed by not hearing or misinterpreting what people said than actually wearing them. I have replied to peoples questions and have them give me the strangest looks. At that time I realize that what I heard was not even close to what they said. Has made for some funny conversations with the wife!! :smiley:

I put off getting HA’s much longer than I should have. So most people I know were aware that I had a hearing loss. Once I got them I too made a point of letting people know that I now had HA’s. One, to let them know I was going to be going through the adjustment phase. And two, to make people stop shouting at me like they were used to doing! :wink:

I too have a balding head. And what hair I have left is starting to gray. But, I found this actually helps to hide the small receiver wire. It blends in with the gray hairs in front of my ears. Only one or two people have actually seen the aids behind my ears and commented about it. And I was always seated with them standing behind me or looking over my shoulder. With the wires camouflaged by the gray hair, most people face to face never know they are there.

Wearing hearing aids no longer carries the social stigma that it did years ago. Indeed, hearing aids have even become a conspicuous fashion statement among aging baby boomers. I wear fairly noticeable BTE aids and don’t really care what people think anymore. After all, if wearing glasses or walking with a cane is nothing to be ashamed of, why should wearing hearing aids? Gerald

I’m 56, and I agree with the previous posters that we’re moving along the continuum from stigma to yawn to fashion statement; I suspect we’re firmly in the yawn zone at this point. As an odd aside, my 12 year-old points them out to her friends, and asks me to demo streaming audio and calls; she thinks it’s “cool”. I also agree with the earlier poster who says that, in the end, it’s much more embarrassing to “what” everyone or mis-hear something in a manner that elicits raised eyebrows.

I was initially, but I’m not any longer. I had flesh colored aids (that didn’t really match me) and recently I had the aids sent in for a check-up when they were turned I asked my audi to replace the shells with a bright silver because I no longer care if people notice.

I also wear a Tek and if someone asks what the Tek is I tell them what it is and what it does and point to my aids.

I guess if I was younger in the dating scene, I may be more self conscious, but no way now. I’m actually going back to get my shells switched out to leopard print with flashing neon lights!!

I wear the MyPilot remote on my belt and when people ask what it is I tell them it’s a beeper. They look at me strangely and then keep walking thinking I’m stuck in a 80s time warp. I wear the iCom around my neck but found that I can wear it under my shirt and people still hear me as long as I don’t move around so my shirt doesn’t scratch the mic.

Seriously, the aids are so small and I keep my hair a tidy bit long around the sides so unless people are standing right behind me like at church, I doubt they even notice them.

P.S. Finally got around to posting my audiogram!

I may be getting them tomorrow. I have been thinking and thinking about it. I have told a few people. Most of them have said I guess it’s a good thing. I think if it makes my life less frustrating it will be. I told a lady tonight if I was going to be vain I would get a nose job. Not worry about people seeing my hearing aid.

36 years old

Hi Betty,

Got my aids on Tuesday of this week and am not embarrassed at all. I am male and have fairly short hair so the aids (Resound Alera BTE) behind my ears are visible if you look closely. I hosted a meeting at my home the day after receiving them with 14 mates present and not one of them commented or noticed to the best of my knowledge. I imagine it is more discreet for a woman with longer hair.

It is your life and your needs which must come first. At some time most of us experience hearing loss and hearing aids are just a way to improve the quality of our lives. Wear them with pride.

Regards,
Bill

I teach science to classrooms full of teenagers. I wear BTE/RITE aids. Every once in awhile one will ask, “What’s that thing in your ear!” I usually respond that I’m bionic and have them so I can listen to their private conversations across the room.

As others have mentioned, the aids are much less embarrassing the “huh, what?” mode of hearing.

Jeff

I can’t answer you personally, but as a hearing professional I see a lot of people with a loss and get to listen to them.

Back in the 90s when I began in this profession, it was all about hiding the aid. The CIC was new and cool, and everyone wanted to talk tiny. They wanted to hide it.

But the trend I am noticing these days is towards the RIC style, and certainly among the younger generation who are just starting out with hearing aids, I hear the question more, ‘which one will give me the best hearing?’

Years back it was all about how well it could be hidden, because I think the older generation had more stigma attached to using electronic help.

Maybe I am wrong, but I just get the impression that the younger the patient, the more used to the concept of humans using electronic personal devices, and the less apt they are to want to hide it.

Frankly, most women have enough hair to completely hide a hearing aid anyway.

Thanks for your response. I find that the RIC style is not that comfortable with my glasses. I think another part of my problem is that I somehow feel my hearing is not bad enough to warrant wearing HA’s. I did go to the movies last evening and it was great to hear all the words, so I know in my heart that I do need them, but my mind is not that accepting. Does this make any sense?? Thanks for listening. Betty

Maybe you could get new glasses frames that are thinner over and behind the ears. Mine are metal and I have no problem.

Betty, next time you are doubting the need (and according to your loss, the need is there), think about how your ear works.

Imagine a giant piano keyboard and each note is hooked up to a small piece of brain. That’s kind of how we hear. Now imagine that some of the keys are not working. Over time, when the piece of brain that is wired to the broken keys fail to receive the right sound information, that piece of brain can eventually shut down.

People who struggle with a loss, and just ‘get by’ are starving parts of their brain of proper nerve input, and like a muscle that is not exercised, it can eventually cause serious problems.

Wearing hearing aids takes the nerves that are still working and keeps them active along with the corresponding part of the brain. So it doesn’t just allow you to hear better now, but it can help your brain stay properly tuned into speech sounds in the long term too.

So if you think of it in terms of helping look after what you have for the future, it might just help you justify to keep up the effort. It’s like going to the gym, it may not be the most fun in the world, but it helps you to stay fit.

I wasn’t sure if it had ever been put in those terms to you before, so I thought I would share :slight_smile:

Dear ZCT,
Thanks for your response — I appreciate your input and what you said makes a lot of sense. Do you wear HA’s and what kind? You said you are a hearing professional. Is it OK to ask what you do in the profession? I have just ordered a pair of iic aids by Starkey and was wondering if you have any input on them. Since I went back to the hearing aid office a few weeks and had a new audiogram and the aids were adjusted to my current losses, I have been wearing the one’s I have and am finding that wearing them is better than not wearing them. I have so many questions but wanted to thank you!
Betty