From the Editor

Vicki LeeperMen seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses. A quote by Dorothy Parker that I heard growing up. I never wore glasses until my late 30’s, so I really have no idea if it would have affected my social life. But there are studies that, for young people, glasses were associated with decreased athleticism and popularity. But it also created a perception of being intelligent, having overall success and, according to children, increased friendliness.

These are typical stigmas we have dealt with for generations growing up. Glasses are merely a form of assistive technology and one I am very thankful for as my vision grows worse with age.

But recently, studies are looking at kids wearing hearing aids the same way. Hearing aids affect social perceptions of adults and peers. In both respondents, hearing aides were associated with decreased athleticism, confidence, health, leadership and popularity. And we all know this is just a stigma and does not reflect accurately on a person’s abilities.

Is this because hearing aides aren’t seen typically is societal representation? This year’s Olympics can be commended for portraying people with disabilities along side coverage. That’s exactly what the researchers think is needed for kids who wear hearing aides. We need more representation in the media to help normalize these things.  New technologies can help too. The ability for hearing aides to interact with a smart phone, stream audio directly to the hearing aides, translate languages, and serve as a personal assistant with connectivity to the cloud, will not only help people hear better, but live better lives in many more ways.

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