New Hearing Aid Images a Big Step Forward; More Work Still Needed

hearing aid images
HHTM
March 7, 2024

For many years, hearing healthy advocates (me included) have bemoaned the lack of realistic and modern hearing aid images that are used in the media coverage of hearing loss. News articles may tout the waning stigma around wearing hearing aids, but the accompanying images showing a beige, oversized and outdated device tell a different story. These misleading images often perpetuate stigma, contradicting the premise of the article. 

Much of the time the devices pictured aren’t even hearing aids. They are PSAPs or personal sound amplifying products that are intended for people with typical hearing to amplify sounds in certain situations, such as birdwatching or hunting. The devices don’t in any way, shape, or form resemble the sleek modern devices available for people with hearing loss today. 

But the tide may be turning. 

GN Resound Image Bank a Step in the Right Direction

Flash back to January 2023 where I and several other advocates and influencers in the hearing loss space met with GN Resound executives at the Consumer Electronics Show. We discussed many topics related to patient care including the power of stigma to prevent people with hearing loss from seeking the care that they need. 

These conversations inspired “The New Norm” collection of hearing aid images, now available for free on Unsplash

Think hearing aids are big, bulky, beige? Think again. The New Norm collection aims to break the visual misperception people have of hearing loss and reflect the true picture of modern hearings aids and those who wear them.

–GN ReSound

Launched on World Hearing Day, the campaign provides an alternative to clunky images of outdated devices. Shot by a hearing-aid-wearing photographer, the photos feature younger and edgier hearing aid wearers proudly sporting their devices of different sizes and shapes. The individuals featured are both models and role models, as each is a standout in their respective field.

The images not only show off the attractive look of modern hearing aid design, but also demonstrate that hearing loss need not prevent anyone from succeeding in their chosen profession. 

Lets Keep the Momentum Going

The New Norm collection is a much-needed step in the right direction. Thank you GN Resound for getting the ball rolling! 

But to eradicate hearing loss stigma, we need more. 

  • An even wider variety of images. Reporters covering the links between hearing loss and cognitive decline, or other health issues may prefer images of older people. We need those to show modern hearing devices as well. 
  • Better placement on Unsplash. Following the link takes me right to The New Norm images, but when searching the site for hearing aids or hearing loss, these images are not the first ones shown. 
  • Expansion to other image repositories. Unsplash is one of many image sites used by reporters and bloggers. Adding the images to other places will make them easier to find. 
  • Ongoing outreach and education. When we see an article with an outdated image, the broader community must continue to reach out to the reporter/media outlet to educate them about the misstep and let them know about the alternative images that are available. 

Changing mindsets about hearing aids and hearing loss will take some time. These new images are a great first step on that path. 

Who will step up next to keep the momentum going? 

 


Shari Eberts

Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of We Hear You, an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss, (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues. Connect with Shari: BlogFacebookLinkedInTwitter.

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