Hearing loss- and hearing aid-related stigma: Perceptions of women with age-normal hearing

Susan F. Erler*, Dean C Garstecki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

Impaired hearing and the use of hearing aids are often perceived negatively. Many adults deny hearing loss and reject amplification, in part due to such stigma. Women and men differ in how they age and adjust to impaired hearing, yet little is known specifically about women's perceptions of stigma related to hearing loss and hearing aid use. The purpose of this study was to examine the degree of stigma associated with hearing loss and hearing aid use among women in three age groups (35-45 years, 55-65 years, and 75-85 years). Participants were 191 women with hearing within normal limits based on age-related norms. Using pairs of descriptors (i.e., semantic differentials), participants completed statements related to hearing loss and hearing aid use. Results suggest that negative perceptions associated with hearing loss and hearing aid use are affected by age. Younger women perceive greater stigma than older women. Less stigma is associated with hearing aid use than hearing loss, suggesting a positive effect of hearing loss management. Implications for clinical practice and marketing of hearing instruments are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Audiology
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

Keywords

  • Hearing aids
  • Hearing loss
  • Stigma
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing

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