Diversity: The Underdog of Audiology

Post By: Olivia Hahn

So often I find myself explaining to people who're somewhat uneducated on the world of hearing health that there is no 'typical' candidate for hearing loss. A common excuse for avoiding a clear issue (the fact that you can't hear or participate in social interactions because of it) is 'I'm too young and only old people need your help'. Not true. Another thing particular to HCC that I've noticed is that we are assumed to only help people in extreme poverty. Also not true. 

I was speaking with Cindy, our fabulous patient care coordinator, about how there is this image in general of someone with hearing loss being older, I'd say 65+, and especially all of our patients being 65+ and really struggling financially. She asked me if I were to describe our HCC population in one word, what would that word be? Naturally I sat there dumb founded, unable to get my creative juices flowing. I asked her what word she would use and she replied with, "Diverse." Wow. Imagine that. People with hearing loss being all shapes and sizes, coming from different cultures, all different ages (our patients range from 3 weeks old to 102 years old to clear that up), special needs, hearing aid users, cochlear implant users, FM system users for the classroom, people in poverty, retirees, university faculty, veterans, etc. 

One day spent at HearCare Connection and minds will be blown by the cold hard fact that every person is different that needs our services. Every person needs different things and needs taken care of in different ways. Not everyone in our realm of service is 75 years old with hearing aids. I think that's what I love about the profession. It's so much deeper and so much more individualized to each and every client than most people in the world think. This is why I want to pursue audiology, because I want to make sure that everyone in my life and my community know just how important hearing health is and just how diverse this profession can be! 

There is no physical attribute, no mental norm, no financial status, no range of age that contributes to an image of a 'typical' candidate for hearing help. There's honestly no such thing. This can reflect on one of my first blogs about how our profession can be repulsive to others because hearing health has a bad reputation. It's associated with getting old and let's be honest no one wants to get old. I love my grandma more than anything in this world and sometimes I wear a cotton nightgown to bed but do I want to be old? Not really. So please people, I'm begging you (and so is my staff) get this image out of your brains! Realize the difference we can make in your lives, in your family's lives, and reach out to us! If you don't qualify for our services then reach out elsewhere! 

Diversity in the hearing world, and especially in HCC's world, is a very real thing. Audiology is up and coming, it's dynamic, it's always changing! There is so much we can do for others based on our knowledge and technology tools. We can help a high school kid hear his teacher better in the classroom thus giving him a better opportunity to learn. We can help a mother interact with her children on a more intimate level. We can do this, we can do that... so let us! Get this negative and narrow-minded image out of heads around your community and start promoting hearing help to all people, TODAY! 

I <3 AUDIOLOGY! (I know I'm a nerd) Have a great week everyone.

-Olivia