A key reason for the delay in recognising a hearing issue is initially, is an apparent lack of awareness that the person with a hearing loss has a hearing issue. Whilst people admit that their hearing is not as good as it used to be, they don’t link this to them personally having a hearing loss.Some of the reasons for this may be:
For a lot of people this seems to because they only notice their hearing is weak in certainsituations/instances. Even when your hearing is adequate, there are situations where you can’t hear as well (for instance, in loud venues), so it is easy to blame the situation.Because people also seem to believe that having a hearing loss equates to not being able to hear at all, this stops them from recognising that they, personally, have a hearing loss that they can do something about.
Other People’s Fault
This is further compounded by the fact that in many of those situations/instances other factors can easily be blamed for not being able to hear clearly. For instance, where the background noise drowns out conversation or when other people “mumble” and “talk to you from inappropriate places - like another room in the house.” Thus, it is easy for them not to recognise that the issue might be with their own hearing - it is blamed on things outside of their control.
In many situations, people with hearing loss, can largely make do by asking people to repeat themselves, changing locations of social events or putting the television higher.Subconsciously, many people appear to learn to read lips. Because, by adapting their behaviour they can hear, there is no obvious problem with their hearing (in their minds).Because there are, largely, easily accessed solutions, they are not forced into thinking about their own hearing loss. They are not confronted by it and it is not as obvious as, for instance, not being able to read the paper. Thus, being able tocompensate means it takes time for them to recognise that they have a hearing loss.
There appears to be a lack of awareness of just how bad one’s hearing is and how this is impacting on their lives. Even when pointed out, they don’t believe it to be true. As their partners observe, “They don’t know what they are missing out on”.This is most notably illustrated by regular users of hearing aids, who can now see what they must have been like, when they look at their friends who don’t have hearing aids: As one regular hearing aid user put it, “I think, oh my, was I like that? How embarrassing.”It is often when their hearing loss begins to directly impact on their quality of life/activities they wish to partake in, that they personally begin acknowledge that there might be an issue with their hearing.
Author: Tanya Wilson
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