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Invisible Hearing Aids - Part Two

I have just finished reading a very interesting document prepared by an Independent Hearing Aid Dispenser in relation to a much wider issue but that, in part, touches on this current series of posts on ‘The Invisible Hearing Aid’. At the end of my last post I talked about the role that hearing aid design and technology had to play in this complex issue; which indeed it does. In fact I drew a common analogy between the attitude towards visual correction and that of hearing correction; which is interesting in the context of the published document. It contends that one of the reasons why attitudes are different is the degree of refinement in technology and solutions available. Hearing Aids are, in comparison, a very recent development. When you consider that spectacles or glasses were invented in the 13th Century with an ensuing 700 years of refinement and that the first true hearing aid (rather than hearing trumpet) could only have been invented after the introduction of electricity, it is no great wonder that hearing solutions and attitudes towards them are very different.

Interestingly, one of the key drivers behind the development of hearing aids was another equally important communication technology, the telephone. So hearing aids were ‘born’ out of the same fundamental and absolute of human needs; communication. So why then, given that so much is written about the need for faster, smoother, better communication and so many of us invest in a whole host of technology to aid this communication do we consistently mistreat, ignore and abuse the very sense central to the process. The answer lies in our attitude towards hearing as a sense and the perceived solutions available for hearing help.

Essentially our attitudes to all things are driven by experience, be it first-hand or described/inferred. The degree to which these attitudes reflect reality will be affected by the nature and importantly the recency of this experience. For example, consider the following statement ‘Hearing Aids are for the elderly’. People that have never used hearings aids rely on observation of the world and people around them to decide whether they agree with this statement. So in order to agree or disagree, experience described or gained first-hand will be used (interestingly, almost certainly ignoring the important factor of when this experience was gathered). “I remember grannies hearing aid; she was nearly 90 when she got it; a big ugly thing behind her ear that whistled and screeched every so often.” The observation could have been 20-30 years prior but unless replaced with a more recent experience, this will form the basis of agreement with the statement. So assuming that this individual uses this experience to agree with the statement, then they may well delay looking into hearing help as they simply ‘aren’t old enough yet’. Unless of course you can make it invisible then no-one will know they are getting older! And so the pursuit of the invisible hearing aid continues….

Watch out for my next post which looks at the issue of mindset and attitude further and whether the continued focus on invisible hearing aids is the answer.

Further Reading:

Invisible hearing aids - part one

Invisible hearing aids - part three

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