Why are products for older people so ugly?

Please define “Older People”

Children can almost fall into this issue.

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Why? It is a self defining issue. If certain products are only or largely used by older people, then they become associated with age. If you change the name, or color, or anything in fact, it is only a temporary relief from the definition if the basic purpose remains the same. If only older people use it, then the association is natural, and I would suggest normal.

Not my choice of words. Just the article’s headline :slight_smile:


Personally I maybe 72 but I weigh what I weighed when I was in the Navy. I love wearing my dress jeans, and western shirts. I don’t feel old and I still do things I did when I was in my twenties, yes, some what slower. Age is what you make of it, you think you are old you are old, you think you are still young you can very well be young at heart. The key is staying active and not giving in to what other people tell you. Be yourself and never ever give up on your dreams.


Why indeed. To what are you alluding? What is the defining age for “older people”? At my current age of 83 that presents a wide amplitude of my definition at 18 in 1955 in high school. As far as “ugly products” I sort of draw a blank on that. 'Ya lost me on that one.

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I think that almost all products are ugly.

But designers do seem to concentrate their effort in the “young” adult range of 20’s to 30’s. Once I crossed into my 40’s (a while ago now) I feel like marketing abandoned me.

They do tend to take a style-less (or style-muted) approach with products marketed to older people.


[Cool article. I’m going to read the whole thing at home tonight.]

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Personally I think it’s the BTE that’s ugly. The more power you need the bigger they get. Then on the other hand HA’s aren’t ugly when you compare them to a cochlear implant processor. But who cares I can hear properly for the first time in decades.

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Deaf_piper, your opinions are yours and are valid.

Any prosthetic looks like an attachment and as such looks out of place. You can make a difference in how others perceive you in how you carry it. And how it’s styled. And I interpreted this thread to be more about product design and style rather than whether prosthetics look ugly a priori.

I really liked that thread about HA and earmold colors for decorative value. Now loud styling may not be fore everyone but I’ve always tended to show my differences openly and try to make the best of them.

All that being said, the styling options for a number of different products are limited, and I think there’s some agreement that it’s especially true when they’re products designed for old people.

Most HA are virtually invisible.

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LOL! I have that very MIT issue just waiting to be read here at home. Lots of great points raised in the article:

Why aren’t “old” people consulted more on design/use issues during product development - (old here, as being defined over 75) As we at the HA board have long railed - TALK TO US! I’ve been wearing “old people” aids since I turned 35. I would LOVE to see these come out in designer colors and patterns that actually make them attractive to wear. It seems that only the children get hearing aids in playful colors, but once we hit 20 everyone gets flesh, black, white or muted metallic tones.

How can those with experience - despite age - be drawn into the design/use cycle? I’ve BEGGED every single audiologist to tell HA makers I would love to be on their user advisory board. Do they even have such a thing? No idea! It’s a missed marketing opportunity to NOT hear from an ex-marketing manager like me who has 35 years experience wearing their products.

Why is there such bias in the design/look of products for “seniors”? I think it’s cuz - let’s face it - many seniors ARE senior. Many decades of poor lifestyle, diet, little exercise have rendered them, um, OLD. This is a conscious choice, but with the proper lifestyle and diet, 64 is the new 44; 85 is the new 65, and “old age” may be a useless term! The reality of folks over 60 who need medical devices having NO other choices has led to the perception that ALL old folks like clunky, flesh-colored, frumpy stuff. No wonder so many seniors eschew OLD AGE products - even if they need them. It’s just one more way of screaming “Marginalize me!”

Why are old folks marginalized? Well, there are norms in place to actually put older folks out to pasture (retirement, Social Security), which were developed literally 80 years ago! Longevity has increased in that time, and there is the economic reality of having to work since we’re living longer. We need to step out of the shadows and get back into the limelight.

Why do old folks not adapt to newer technology? It’s all about exposure. If you’re a happy grandpop or gramma, you have youth around you to expose you to the latest and greatest devices. We introduced my mother-in-law to an iPhone cuz she was unable to dial numbers. Now she was able to just speak the number, or ask Siri a question. Expose us to the new-fangled devices and many of us WILL use them. I keep hounding my 94-yr-old mom (who coud run circles around me) about the joys of phone streaming, but no, she gets telephone elbow putting the phone to her ear EVEN as she enjoyes a TV streamer!

All that said, we also have to be honest here: with age, lack of good diet and lifestyle, hereditary conditions, etc., we DO become more frail and need medical devices as we age. It’s time we put our ego aside and embrace the products. In time, with feedback we can change the look and function of these devices but ONLY if we face the fact that we need them and BUY them.

Well, I’ve ranted too long, but have long LONG had a gripe about fuddy-duddy looking products rammed in the face of seniors - hoping we’ll just shaddup and use 'em. There are simply too many of us - at least here in the US - to ignore. :smile:

personnally people were too much about looks anyway.