Glasses or contact lenses? Sweet as. Hearing aids? Yeah, nah
Most people don’t balk at getting glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision, but plenty of people with a hearing loss avoid doing anything about it because of a social stigma attached to hearing aids.
And, possibly unexpectedly, it’s generally not young people willing to live muted lives because of cosmetic concerns.
Simon Melville should know, he’s a senior audiologist and director at Audiology South.
He says middle-aged people have heaps more hang-ups than anyone else when it comes to wearing an aid to improve their hearing.
Often there’s a simple fix for hearing loss that could hugely improve quality of life, yet people resist, he says.
It may be outdated thinking, but he reckons plenty still equate glasses with intelligence and hearing aids with, well, the opposite, unfortunately.
“Back in the day, even when I trained, when someone was deaf, they were considered quite disabled.
“That sort of feeling used to prevail and I think there's this sort of stigma that’s residual.”
Teens and people in their 20s and 30s can often find it easier to rock hearing aids, he says.
“The younger generation, I think they sort of see a disability as something that you face up to and address.
“They’re also the iPod generation…they’re used to having something in their ears.
“Whereas the older generation, they sort of learn to put up with stuff, and they’re less likely to address it.”
But Audiology South has a product they’re dubbing the “contact lens” for the ears, and Mr Melville says it’s a good first-step for the hearing-aid-hesitant.
It’s called Lyric, and it’s a small, tapered hearing aid that’s fitted to sit inside the ear canal.
It can’t be seen, after a few days of settling into it, it can’t really be felt, and it won’t be going anywhere, he says.
It’s a good fit for Southerners with active lifestyles, too.
“With ski helmets and bike helmets, traditional hearing aids can often get in the way or be annoying.
“Lyric is ideal for people who work and play outdoors.
“You don't need to take them in and out; you don't have to change the batteries and do all that stuff you’d have to do with a daily wear device.”
Audiology South is the only provider in the region with expertise to fit Lyric hearing aids, Mr Melville says.
“Traditionally, if people wanted Lyric they've had to travel to main centres for it.
“Whereas we can offer it on the back doorstep now.”
Audiology South are offering customers a 30-day, free trial of Lyric - click here to find out more.
Main image: The Lyric hearing aid is hidden from view and can be worn 24/7.