A toddler hugs a beaming grandmother. A greying couple laugh into blue skies and sunshine. A newly permed old lady laughs at a joke. An old man grins as he holds up his new hearing aid, his smile as bright as his buttercup shirt.
You will have seen them a hundred times before. Yep, they’re adverts for hearing aids and the one thing that they all have in common? Every single model has tipped their half-century birthday.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. Most people lose their hearing later in life, it’s natural. However, there is a bunch of us out here who potentially still have decades of hearing problems ahead of us for one reason or another.
I would love to see an advert where the superhero keeps getting beaten up by the bad guy because he doesn’t hear him coming, then his sidekick kits him out with an earpiece and suddenly he’s doing great and saving the world again. Or Cinderella at a ball but she doesn’t hear the prince asking her to dance, then her fairy godmother gives her a (glittery obviously) hearing aid and she finds her true love. Or a boy who is absolutely terrible at playing the violin and his parents are going crazy until he gets a hearing test and you see him on the stage playing with the RSNO. Or a girl who thinks the teacher is always talking pants in class until she goes to the audiologist and gets fitted with a hearing aid and her grades shoot up.
If anyone would like to hire me for their marketing department…
This wasn’t supposed to be a grump about everyone assuming that you have to be old to have any degree of deafness, but it is true.
You don’t have to be an OAP to lose your hearing. Many of us aren’t but somehow folks are funny about the fact and that can make it embarrassing or terrifying for young people when they are told that they should consider hearing aids. For teenagers in particular, it might feel like the world is coming to an end.
In fact, it’s really not a big deal, it just requires a little adjustment.
But rather than just saying that, I would like to spend some time answering any questions you might have about hearing loss as a young person. I won’t be able to answer everything but if I don’t know, I will go and find the answer for you if I can. I’ve already been asked a whole list of interesting (and sometimes unexpected) questions by different people and I think that it might be helpful to talk about what I’m learning. Hopefully it will help you know a little of what to expect and set your mind at rest.
So whether you are losing your hearing or trying to understand what it is like for others, you are absolutely welcome to submit questions via the comments section, the contact page, or twitter (@kumquatabsurdam).
My aim is to answer one or two each Wednesday (on top of the normal odd assortment of posts). I’m a little nervous to be honest but I hope you benefit from this new series: Midweek on Mute.