It’s not the hearing aids that make people look old, is a comment I received in a text message from a colleague. There are many ways to interpret this comment, but I believe what makes a person seem “older” is the refusal to wear hearing aids. It is a bit more obvious you have hearing loss when you aren’t wearing hearing aids, and someone must repeat a sentence three times because you keep saying, “what?!”
Also, who cares?
I have learned over the years that no one cares if you are wearing an amplifying device in your ear. Who cares if you are living your best life by improving your communication with friends, family, colleagues, healthcare professionals, and even strangers every day? Removing barriers between communication is worth even one person judging you.
Speaking of communication — could we talk about it more, please? We know when communication feels especially difficult, and hearing loss can create even more barriers in a distractive, busy, and stressed world. A break in communication impacts both people in exchange. It can be a lot of energy and effort to communicate successfully, but there are many strategies that we can learn to help us be better. If you have a hearing loss, this article is a great place to start educating yourself on how to communicate more effectively: https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/51744-Communication-strategies-when-talking-to-individuals-with-hearing-loss. I have personally benefited from learning how to lip-read, creating better lighting, being assertive about what I mean, but none of these techniques help much unless I put those aids in my ears!
Closing the Generational Gap
Have you noticed anyone wearing those tiny, white Apple earbuds that no longer have a cord attached? AirPods! AirPods are wireless Bluetooth earbuds that connect easily to your iPhone. People use them to listen to music, listen to podcasts, and take hands-free calls. They sound superb and are easily transported in their cute charging cases. Here is a picture of the AirPods in their case and Millennials/Generation Zs using them:
When you see people (usually young people) using their AirPods, they don’t seem to care that big, white earpieces are sticking out of their ears. Moreover, they think it looks cool. They also believe that learning to use technology is cool, along with taking care of yourself and your health. Current hearing aids, with their high-tech features, look like AirPods and address an important part of your health. The more you try to teach yourself about your hearing and the technology that can improve it, the younger you will look.
The hearing aids will make you look young when you whip out the hearing aid application on your phone and adjust your settings. You look younger when you stream music, podcasts, and books or take a phone call using your hearing aids. In addition, when you connect to accessories such as a TV box or connect clip, hearing aids can be a conversation starter!
Technology will make you look younger and keep your brain cognition on track. Working and learning how to use hearing aid technology sooner than later will not only help keep your cognition sharper, but you will learn how to use the aids to their full advantage before cognitive decline sets in and it’s too late to learn.
It’s not the aid that makes you look old. It’s the reluctance to wear the aids and the unwillingness to learn how to use them—the fear of the current technology. Changing your outlook and mindset will improve every part of your life.