One of the biggest hearing aid stigmas centers around age. While people of any age can have hearing loss and need hearing aids, it’s true that many people experience age-related hearing loss later in life.
It’s clear that hearing declines with age: approximately 2% of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 8.5% for adults aged 55 to 64, then nearly a quarter (25%) of those aged 65 to 74, and half (50%) of those 75+ have hearing loss. Therefore, hearing loss is considered a condition associated with older people, and is often seen as a negative sign of aging.
On the other hand, glasses don’t have a similar perception. When looking at glasses vs. hearing aids, glasses don’t have the same negative associations, and are not considered as being primarily for “older” adults. Since most people start needing glasses sometime between the ages of 18 and 21, getting glasses is not something that’s considered to be geared towards older adults, the way hearing aids are.
According to the CDC, 7.1% of the US population aged 45+ wear hearing aids, and per The Vision Council, 63.7% of US adults wear glasses. Clearly, glasses are much more commonly worn than hearing aids. Therefore, it’s more widely accepted to wear glasses than hearing aids.
Glasses are widely accepted in media and society because of the large number of people that wear them. In fact, more than half of people (6 out of 10) in the developed world need to wear glasses or contact lenses. Because of the massive demand, glasses are much easier to purchase – and are more widely available – than hearing aids.