Research Article  |   December 2002
Hearing Loss- and Hearing Aid-Related Stigma
 
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Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception
Research Article   |   December 2002
Hearing Loss- and Hearing Aid-Related Stigma
American Journal of Audiology, December 2002, Vol. 11, 83-91. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2002/020)
History: Received June 14, 2001 , Accepted December 10, 2002
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2002, Vol. 11, 83-91. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2002/020)
History: Received June 14, 2001; Accepted December 10, 2002

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.

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