The runways of New York City and Paris are where fashion trends start. Social media makes music popular. And, for sports, it’s branding and television that boost visibility. But what about the hearing aid market? Like fashion, they are wearables. Even eyeglasses, which are also wearables, can make a fashion statement.
The original trend: the ”hearing aid effect”
A specific brand or product wasn’t connected to hearing aids in the old days. Perception, emotion, and stigma carried the torch with hearing aids and was all based in emotion. The original trend with hearing aids was the “hearing aid effect.” That trend made a statement--an undesirable one. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, hearing aids consisted of uncomfortable, bulky, feedback-whistling, hard-to-control elements and were less of an assistance to wearers and more of an embarrassment. The association was with a person not being what’s considered normal, intelligent, attractive, or capable. Studies done in the 80s reveal that attitude.
Technology rules today’s world. The trends are started by political figures and celebrities, as well by sleek smartphones. No one gives a second glance to see if someone is wearing an earbud for an MP3 player or even a hearing aid. Ears are often adorned with technology, and industries strive to focus on the products’ cosmetic desirability.
Hearing aids have really changed--they are discreet, small, and some are even undetectable. They also have feedback management and wireless connectivity to smartphones. A 2014 study says that having hearing aids now demands respect. Increased performance, decreased size, sleeker styles, and advanced technology all factor into the new attitude.
Think about it. Other listening technologies have unintentionally paved the way to making hearing aids invisible in the public eye. It’s cool to have earbuds to listen to music, for example. No one really sees hearing aids anymore as a negative thing; that is, if they can even see them at all. Ear-level devices, seen or unseen, are commonplace. People wear Bluetooth headsets to have hands-free phone conversations, for instance. Also, bicyclists and joggers wear headsets. It’s the norm. Your ears can make a fashion statement, too.
Celebrities with hearing loss
Celebrities with hearing loss have put hearing aids on the map. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, musicians Pete Townsend and Neil Young, and NFL star Derrick Coleman unashamedly have promoted wearing them. Big name figures and companies have led to social acceptance. Many celebrities have become social advocates for raising awareness about hearing loss.
Contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids today for more information about today’s attitude about hearing aids and what cool stuff is out there to address hearing loss.