Tens of thousands of people in Washington, DC depend on hearing aids to hear clearly, or at least better than they do without the device. Unfortunately there are thousands of other people who need hearing aids in Washington, DC who are not using them.
Hearing aids of one sort or another have been around for more than a century. Initially they were large, hand-held, cumbersome contraptions that produced only marginal hearing improvement. Advancements in hearing aid technology improved hearing levels, and were made small enough to be affixed to the ear. However, they were secured over the ear and therefore still quite noticeable. Recent advances in hearing aid technology have improved the level of hearing still further, while enabling them to be made small enough to fit inside the ear canal. Now most people wearing hearing aids in Washington, DC do so without anyone noticing.
Over the past decade hearing aids have been reduced in size to near invisibility. However, there are still millions of people who are not embracing either the advancements in technology to improve hearing, nor the cosmetic improvements. This is most likely because those in need of a hearing aid are in denial when it comes to their own hearing loss. Even when family members or an audiologist insists they need a hearing aid, they choose to not wear one. Unfortunately there is little an audiologist can do to help someone unwilling to seek their help.
However, people who do turn to an audiologist for assistance in selecting a hearing aid are often concerned mostly with cosmetics, wanting the least noticeable hearing aid possible. The problem with appearance being the paramount consideration is that the smallest, least visible hearing aid may not be the best hearing solution. If someone’s hearing loss is pronounced, it will require more power than what is available in tiny CICs. There could also be a physical limitation, in that the ear canals may not allow them to be held firmly in place. In such cases, a larger or externally secured hearing aid will have to be used.
Hearing loss may bear a negative stigma, but a hearing aid vastly improves quality of life. So whether a small, virtually invisible device will do the job or a larger, more noticeable one is needed, the gain in quality of life outweighs any level of embarrassment one could feel at wearing a hearing aid in Washington, DC.