Why invisible hearing aids don’t make you happy

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OK, so out of all the different models and sizes and fits, you’ve decided to buy invisible hearing aids. Great. Now, you have no problem in the eyes of a stranger who sees you for the first time and you don’t have to deal with the what-will-they-think-of-me? stigma/complex/problem/whatever.

Then you meet your buddies for dinner and go to a loud restaurant and can hardly follow the conversation. Now, you have two choices: you can pretend you follow everything or you can tell people at the table that you find hard to follow.

If you decide to go with the first — something I’ve done personally several times — you don’t have to admit that you have a hearing problem, in the eyes of everyone else you’re normal, but especially in your own judging eyes. You can nod and smile, grab a word here and there but truth is that you’re not having a great time, and nobody other than you knows that.

If you, on the other hand, decide to tell everyone that you struggle to follow and are able to explain it in a way that everybody can understand: “For me, as I am a bit deaf, it’s like we were in a club, I can hear the person sitting next to me, but it’s hard to follow what the entire group is saying, especially if they all speak at the same time.”. You will generally find that people, whether they’re your closest friends or new acquaintances, will try and help how they can. Sometimes there is little you can do to make the conversation more comfortable but just having a one-to-one conversation with the person next to you can make your night.

So, invisible hearing aids would make you happy if they completely fixed your hearing problem but, as soon as you wear them for a week or two you realise that even if they do improve your hearing, they do not restore it completely and you will always struggle in some situations. And when that struggle arrives, there is nothing worse you can do than not sharing your problem. An invisible hearing aid gives you the licence to fake it. And it’s hard to come back from that.

The hearing aid industry keeps overselling the dream to the hearing impaired: “come and buy these, they’re invisible, nobody will notice that you have a problem” but truth is, you still do have a problem, and hiding it is the worst you could do.W

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