Why would a deaf person not wear hearing aids if the options are there for them and the technology are available to help them?
As always, it’s not always as simple as that but this video will be useful for you to understand that the different things that you should think about when you want to ask that question.
It’s easy assume that deaf and hard of hearing people should wear hearing aids (perhaps to help hearing people?).
But there are many things that you should consider, as I explain in this post.
You can watch the video…
…listen to the podcast…
…or read the transcript.
14 reasons why a deaf person would not wear hearing aids
- Lack of deaf awareness
- They are uncomfortable
- Sounds are louder but not clearer
- The pick up the “wrong” sounds
- They can give you a headache
- They don’t look great
- They are large and bulky
- Very hard to use with phones
- They are useless for some people
- They are expensive
- Social stigma in the hearing world
- Social stigma in the Deaf world
- Rebelling from too much pressure
- We have our own reasons
Why would a deaf person not wear hearing aids?
Surely the technology is there and help is there, you’d think that we should be using it and wearing it all the time.
And just don’t complain about it, right?
Oh, I wish it were that simple.
Speaking of which, I’m taking mine off. [Removes hearing aids]
There are so many perceptions about hearing aids and I’ve done a bunch
of videos about them, which you can check it out in the archive.
But I thought this would be a good opportunity to just explain to you
why a deaf person would just not really want to were hearing it,
at least not all the time. This is a good chance for you to learn about that.
This is also a follow up video to the other one I’ve done about why would a deaf person were hearing aids? Because surely if they can’t hear, then hearing aids are useless, right?
Wrong! That’s not the case.
And if you want to know more about that you can learn about that below.
In this video, I want to go through the common points on why a deaf person would not wear a hearing aid.
And before we get into that, I just want to point out that you can
support the channel by becoming a Patreon.
And I will go in a bit more detail, some story, some are mine, some are anonymous about this topic of why a person would not want to a hearing aids.
But I would love your support on the channel.
1. Lack of deaf awareness
The first reason is because of lack of deaf awareness.
People have a lot of perception about hearing aids. They think that it’s a “cure”. It makes you hear like a normal hearing person.
“It will help you to cope with any situation. You should be able to cope fine. That’s it. Put it on, job done”
That alone is completely incorrect.
And because of that lack of awareness, it can be quite difficult or exhausting or just not even possible to explain to people that hearing aids is not a cure.
You have to explain all the reasons or all the point behind it. And even through all that, you still can’t get that message through, which then becomes very exhausting and tiring.
So sometimes it’s just easier to not wear it, which is not great.
2. They are uncomfortable
Number two is because they are just uncomfortable.
Now, one reason could be because of the mold, which is the inside bit that you wear in your ear.
It could be because the size is wrong and it might need to be resized, which can be done by the audiologist.
But other times, it just uncomfortable to have something inside your ears all day.
And I loved the feeling after I’ve done that when I take it off. It’s like taking your shoes off after a long day, been on your feet, that relaxing feeling.
The only way I can get you to understand how that feels is just imagine you wear an inner-ear headphone/earplug wearing it in all day, every day and just see how that feels for you.
More often than not, people just don’t like that feeling all day long and it gets a bit uncomfortable.
3. Sounds are louder, not clearer
Number three is because they make the sound louder but not necessary clearer.
Technology has gotten better in the past. It used to be just like one
setting, volume on and off, and then you put the volume up and down.
Nowadays, audiologist can make adjustments, similar to like a sound engineer.
But still, it’s not there and it’s still not that comfortable to hear the amplification of everything around you. It doesn’t just pick up one sound; it just amplifies everything.
Some hearing aids do pick up certain sound and you can adjust that, but still it’s not that great.
If you want to experiment yourself to get an idea of how that feels, just imagine how would it feel if you just crank up the volume of your TV?
It doesn’t mean you can hear it better. It just become a bit uncomfortable.
It’s become annoying, maybe distorted, and it’s just not possible
to pick up the sounds.
So try that out; put the TV up really loud and that is how some people feel when they wear hearing aids, especially if you’re not used to it or they have the older one.
It’s just not the type of thing that you would wear if you want perfect sound clarity.
4. They pick up the “wrong” sounds
Related to that in number four is that it picks up the “wrong” sounds way too much.
A few examples, which I absolutely hate it when I were hearing aids and it’s windy. Because it creates like a loud screeching sound when that wind goes into the tiny microphone of the hearing aids.
It’s very, very annoying.
The other thing as well is when you eat eating food, you can hear of munching extra loud.
And if you’re eating something crunchy, like a popcorn or some crisps, then it becomes very annoying and becomes uncomfortable.
So, yeah, it doesn’t exactly pick up the right sound. It just pick up those annoying sounds on top of it as well.
So I just take it off.
5. They can give you a headache
Number five is because they can give you a headache.
And that is because when you have all these sound amplified and you have to work extra hard to listen to the right sound.
Then you’re concentrating even more and you get concentration fatigue and you become really exhausted.
When you wear it all day and the sounds are all amplified, and you still have to work hard to listen to the right sound.
So, for example, people are speaking, but there are other noises around it. Then you still have to work extra hard to focus on that person. You get concentration fatigue, you get tired, you get a headache.
And even if it’s not a noisy background, still the way we hear people
speak, it’s different. And you still have to listen extra hard to hear people because the sound of how they speak and it is amplified.
But it’s still not really clear as such.
So as a result, I just get very tired and it just so exhausting.
And you give up, you take it off and sometimes it just nicer that way.
6. They don’t look great
I admit this is the thing for me in the past. They just don’t look good.
You can make it more funky and fashionable by maybe adding a sticker to it or requesting the different colour hearing aids or maybe a different color mold itself.
So you can do that. Maybe some people will not be able to, for whatever reason or maybe certain hearing aids won’t allow that.
Whatever it is, you can have some options around it.
But the old-fashioned (and dated) beige one for a lot of people, they might be stuck with that one.
And let’s face it, they don’t look great.
People argue that it’s not there to make you look great. But then you can argue the same thing about glasses.
You can think about the number of frame they are in, colours and style only thing. There are so many out there because they can be a fashionable accessory.
And for some people, they wear glasses because it’s fashionable, not because they need it.
Same thing with hearing aids. You want to make it look like an accessory, it looks good and it’s part of who we are.
And that’s something that is valid, I think.
7. They are large and bulky
Number seven is because some of them are still large and bulky.
So on the one hand, I have mentioned that are uncomfortable because of that. And then on the other hand, they just don’t look good.
Some people might be thinking, “well, you can get those extra small ones,
you can get it right inside and they’re discreet.”
“Or you can get a smaller sized one even behind the ear. They’re quite small and you can get by with that.”
Well, yes, you can get those but it doesn’t mean that they will work for everyone.
A case in point is that I’ve got a hearing aid, it is much smaller than this one. But the problem is they’re not appropriate for me.
There are hearing aids I can get even smaller than the one I have, so tiny. But they’re not appropriate because they’re not able to pick up the sound that I can’t hear, which means that they’re pointless if I wear them.
It doesn’t add anything to what I get from the current one I have right now.
And that’s the problem.
Just because these small hearing that are available, it doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for everyone. Maybe it’s suitable for a small margin of people or people who can hear a certain type of sound.
Whatever it is, we don’t always have the option of having a small one if we want that option.
8. Very hard to use with phones
Number eight is because it’s so hard, for me, anyway to use it with a phone.
You have to adjust it when you wear hearing aids over your phone. It’s just not easy. You have to get the right angle.
It is really hard for me to, 1) to find the right angle and even 2) the
sound is not really perfect for me.
Again, there are modern hearing aids where you can connect it with your Bluetooth. That might be easier for some people.
But again, that’s not always available for certain people because of cost or
availability or maybe the hearing aids, it’s not the right one for them, whatever.
Even though I find it very, very difficult to use my mobile phone and hearing aids at the same time, and I think other people
are like that as well.
9. They are useless for some people
Number nine is because it might be useless for some people.
If a person has residual hearing and then it’s just getting down and down and, you know, gradually they’re losing their hearing, then that’s one thing because they had hearing in the first place.
And you can get a hearing aid to help you a little bit, maybe
give a bit of a boost.
But if a person is completely profoundly deaf and never had hearing in the first place, it’s not something, that they have lost their hearing residual over time, then in a lot of situation, hearing aids don’t do anything at all, or maybe at the most it can just pick up certain sound and to make them feel like they are safe and they know what’s around them.
But in general, there are people out there where wearing hearing aids, it doesn’t do anything at all.
The problem is not a lot of people can see that, and then they just assume that that person should be wearing hearing aids.
But it just doesn’t do anything for some people.
10. They are expensive
Number 10 is a big one for some people.
They are expensive!
Sometimes to get a pair of hearing aids, they can cost thousands and thousands of pounds, even thousands and thousands of dollars.
I am lucky because I live in UK and I have the glorious NHS, which is an absolute privilege to have, and I get my hearing aids for free.
And I am extremely lucky because I know in other countries that not possible.
If they want to be able to afford it, they have to spend either thousands and thousand or the only thing they can do is to go on a financial plan, which make them cost even more because of interest rate.
Or they’re just going to get the cheap one, but it’s not perfect.
And that means they can’t customise it and they can’t get the right settings and the features, all of these things…all because it’s expensive.
So that’s something that you have to be aware of: yes, maybe some people do want it and want to wear hearing aids. But they just can’t afford it.
11. Social stigma in the hearing world
Number 11 is because of the social stigma that is existing in the hearing world.
And even though getting better, there are less stigma nowadays and it’s more common to see people wearing Bluetooth earpiece and all these things.
But still, there are stigmas involved for certain people.
And I had that in the past when I was younger, I have to admit
And sometime as well, it focuses more on people who are maybe not deaf enough or not hearing enough. They are in the middle bit.
Or maybe for those who have grown up mainstream and all they’ve known is people around them are all hearing.
And you want to blend in, you want to blend in a society and not feel like an outcast, wish for people like myself or other people, they have felt like that.
So there are social stigma that is attached in the hearing world.
So as a result, we just don’t wear hearing aids.
12. Social stigma in the Deaf world
On the other hand at number 12, there are also social stigma in the deaf
world as well.
There are certain people who have this perception or attitude and they believe that people who wear hearing aids are not proud of their deaf identity and they are not welcome
in the Deaf community.
And personally, I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree that there should be gatekeepers anyway and that’s a whole other conversation, because that’s just complex.
But there are social stigma attached for people in the Deaf community where they believe if you wearing hearing aids, then you don’t belong with us, “you are not part of us” and all these things.
And as a result, people might feel like, “you know what?
I want to be part of our group and I want to be involved in that.
But because of that stigma, I have to remove my hearing aid just so I can be involved in a community”, which is a shame. It’s a real shame.
13. Rebelling from too much pressure
Number 13 is because they are rebelling too much as a result of receiving a lot of pressure.
These pressures can be from audiologist to members of the family to friends, to people at work or society. They (or we) receive a lot of pressure from the people and saying “you should wear your hearing aids and you should wear it”.
And for some people, they just rebel. They feel a lot of pressure and they get anxiety. And they just don’t want to do it
at the end of the day.
Too much pressure and the way too many people are telling you what to do is not the best way forward. It’s never going to help anyone at all, especially if it’s from people who just…don’t…get…it.
14. We have our own personal reasons
Which brings me to my final point, at number 14: we have our own personal reasons, and that’s it.
It’s not your decision to decide what we should be doing and whether we should wear hearing aids or not.
Not only is it’s not your decision, but in a lot of situations, frankly, you don’t really have a say in it.
Everyone has their own thing they’re going through. Everyone has their own situation that it’s difficult to explain to other people and you will not get it.
And that’s going to happen: you will not get it.
But if you don’t get it, just respect it. Just understand it. Just appreciate it.
Maybe there will be a certain situation where you will be able to encourage
that person and support that person.
But the big thing is you have to respect the person’s decision.
If they don’t want to wear it for whatever reason, listen, understand, respect it, support and maybe encourage.
But that’s it. Never pressure anyone at all.
Why I don’t like wearing hearing aids
I’ll be honest, personally, I don’t enjoy wearing hearing aids at all.
I’ve done a separate video about it (which you can below) and I’ve got my own reasons.
But regardless of all that, I do wear it now and then, around social gathering or certain occasions where there are a lot of people.
Or even a small group of people and I want to be able to be part of our conversation, then, OK. I would wear it around that time.
But in general, I don’t really like wearing hearing aids a lot.
The most important thing that you should be aware of is that hearing aids and cochlear implants, they do not bring a person hearing level two the same as a “normal” person hearing level.
It does not bring you back to that level at all.
It just helps a little bit. It gives you a little boost. It supports it in other ways. That’s it. It’s just not going to make it the same level as you if you are hearing person yourself. Be aware of that.
And on top of that, like I said, just respect the person’s decision whether
they wear it or they don’t wear it.
Respect it, but also understand why and appreciate it and be aware that there are a lot of things going on behind-the-scenes that will maybe be
very difficult for you to understand.
But if you have respect, that’s all I can ask.
I hope this video has helped you. If you have any more questions,
let me know in a comment.
And likewise, if you are a person who don’t enjoy wearing hearing aids, let me know in the comments what other reasons you have? I would love to hear those things as well.
Don’t forget as well to click ‘Subscribe’ to my YouTube channel or on whatever podcast platform that you use.
- The power of non-verbal communication & how deaf people depends on it - August 5, 2020
- My personal viewpoint on the definition of deaf* - July 30, 2020
- Hearing privilege: What is it and why it’s important to acknowledge them? - July 23, 2020