How You Can Help Combat Hearing Loss Stigma

By Shari Eberts: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Hearing Aid Negative Stereotypes Abound

The show has been an incredible disappointment in many ways, including its portrayal of hearing aids and hearing loss. For a show that aims to celebrate the lives of people in their 50s, this was a huge misstep.

Here’s the dialogue from the first time we see hearing-aid-wearer Steve on screen:

“Steve-o, long time, no see. What’s new?”

“Hey, I got hearing aids. I’m an old-timer now.”

Later in the scene, Stanford turns to Steve and says, “Steve, would you ever just leave Miranda? Oh, boy.”

“What? What he say?” is Steve’s reply. 

And later, Miranda whispers to him during a performance, “Tell your son to stop.”

“What?”

I guess it didn’t take the actor long to learn his lines.

The media buzz picked up last week, with major entertainment publications reporting that Steve’s hearing aids were inspired by the actor, David Eigenberg, who recently began using hearing aids in real life. It’s a great idea—art imitating life—but why did the writers do it in a stereotyped and negative way? By all accounts the actor is very pleased with his hearing aids. Why doesn’t Steve seem to get the same benefit?

Perhaps it has to do with the lingering stigma that still surrounds hearing loss. Stereotypes for people with hearing loss include being seen as “old” or “slow” or “rude” or “out of touch” and “not worth the time it takes to communicate with them.”

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