May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. We all have a friend or family member with hearing loss whom we think would benefit from being able to hear better than they currently hear. Perhaps they have hearing aid(s) and refuse to wear them. Perhaps they need to have their hearing tested but won’t go. Perhaps they will not even enter into a conversation about it. Why is that? Why are people SO reluctant to avail themselves of better hearing and better communication?
Well, there a million reasons, but, think about it…do we usually broach the subject as a conversation about availing oneself of better hearing and better communication? Do we talk about better hearing and communication as a pathway to living where and how one chooses, aging healthfully, and maintaining an independent lifestyle? No! We talk about needing to “do something about your hearing loss”! Or “get hearing aids”! Or “turn down the (bleeping) TV”! Ugh! And there lies the first of many barriers to better hearing and better communication that get thrown in the person’s way. Who the heck wants to think about THAT, for crying out loud? It is no wonder people deny or obfuscate or rationalize or otherwise run screaming in the opposite direction.
The April issue of The Hearing Review (Volume 21, No. 4, April 2014) has some wonderful reading on how to re-brand hearing loss and why we need to. Instead of focusing on what’s been lost, or what is wrong, the focus could be on how products and services that promote better hearing and better communication (or what audiologists Douglas Beck and Curtis Alcock refer to in this edition of Hearing Review on page 16 as “achieving maximal hearing and listening”) are a pathway for people to live where they choose, age healthily, and maintain independent lifestyles. Living independently and vibrantly is so much more attractive than doing something about a hearing loss, don’t you think?
Check out this great issue for more information on re-branding hearing loss by ascribing positive images and empowering people to achieve desired outcomes! Click here for access to the digital edition of April 2014 Hearing Review on the website www.hearingreview.com: