← Return to Age old stigmas and myths about hearing loss that don't go away

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For me the worst thing someone can say to me is "Never mind, it wasn't important". That simply means that I'm not important enough to be bothered with repeating something I didn't hear. It happens all the time.

Seriously though, I'm looking for comments about stigma…you know, the kind that pegs people with hearing loss as 'less than smart'. Also the advertisements for hearing aids that tell us loud and clear that we need to hide our hearing aids. You know, they are nearly invisible, or so small no one will know you're wearing them. What does that lead to perceptions about hearing loss? What do you think about those ads?

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Replies to "For me the worst thing someone can say to me is "Never mind, it wasn't important"...."

The ads stress the invisibility of aids because most people believe that only OLD people need aids, which, of course, is not true. It's all the same as all the wonder glop you can buy to prevent or remove wrinkles. Dammit, I EARNED these wrinkles! I never understood how there could be so many ads for miracle glop until I slowed down while passing the shelves of it on my way to the prescription counter…OMG, tiny little jars cost as much as $50!!! There are creams for your face, for your arms, for your elbows…no end of how the people who develop all the stuff can empty your wallet. It's as though it's downright shameful to be and OLD person!

Decades ago, I cared for one of my great aunts, a tiny little person with a very large nose that was extremely prominent. She believed, however, that she was gorgeous, so, although she had little money and refused to buy decent food, she mail ordered all kinds of wonderful stuff guaranteed to "fix" every part of her body. After she died, I remember my no-nonsense aunt, sweeping the entire collection (which covered a five-foot long counter) into a big galvanized trash can. I was always amused that my great aunt spent so much time and effort on products to increase her beauty…when the first thing anyone noticed was her gigantic nose!

One summer I was at a birthday picnic for my brother. My aunt was trying to tell me something, with the music and talking I couldn’t hear her. I asked her twice to repeat what she was saying. She just waved her hand and called me a dummy. I was stunned beyond words. No one had ever referred to me as a dummy before. At least not to my face.
I’m not ashamed of my hearing lost. I let everyone know that I’m pretty much deaf. I hope this would make it easier for us to communicate. Guess that’s not always the case.

I can't tell you how any times people have said to me "Never mind". My husband has excellent hearing. When we go to church, someone says something funny–the whole congregation laughs–except me. I ask him to tell me and he gets very irritated. He won't. If we are in a crowd of people (that was before the pandemic), someone says something I don't hear or something funny, my husband will not tell me. When we get home, I say "what was so funny today?". He says "You don't expect me to remember that, do you?" I know he just simply doesn't want to take the time to repeat what people say or tell me what was so funny. So many, many times he has hurt my feelings. He knows it and really doesn't care. By the way, I am older than he by 8 1/2 years. We had our 39th anniversary this past week. We couldn't go out so we ordered out.

Julie…. my husband used to say "Never mind, it wasn't important" to me all the time. I tried to tell him how hurtful it was but he kept on doing it. Finally I wrote him a long letter explaining in depth how it made me feel (like you, unimportant). He seemed to get it then and things are much better now. Also we got an I-Pad which prints out the conversation. We now have at least a 30 minute conversation at breakfast and again at dinner so it has been great.
Your post about stigma was interesting. Just this morning I was talking on the Caption phone with a health provider. At one point he said this was his first conversation with someone using a Caption phone, also his first conversation with someone who can't hear. Then he said "But you sound pretty sharp". Hmmmmm. Now what was he expecting?
As far as hearing aid ads I do wish they would not stress that they are practically invisible. It does seem to point out that hearing loss is almost something to be ashamed about. Personally the aids have never bothered me in that way…. I needed them so I got them. I felt the same way when I had to start using a cane… I needed it, so what. It's also been interesting how many people offer to help me with things when they see the cane. Sometimes I need the help ie carrying something and trying to open a door while using the cane. There are a lot of nice people out there who step up. Thanks for your post. Judy