Planned broadcast: June 17, 2015; 8.15pm, Südwest TV
17 years ago I realized that I don't hear well. Since then I have been avoiding taking a hearing test and the consequences. One is already considered hearing impaired if you can no longer hear a watch tick. I'm way past that. Today it takes longer for me to hear alarm clocks and doorbells, if I hear them at all. My husband spoke the bitter truth: you need a hearing aid. Now I have a problem: I need one, but don't want anything in or behind my ear. Many others are facing this same dilemma.
Roughly every third German over 50 has some level of impaired hearing, that's 14 million people. Deafness is one of the most underestimated health issues. More babies are born with hearing deficits than visual impairments. There is a huge and growing need. Hearing aid stores today look more like designer shops than sanitary medical supply stores - but still there is a formidable barrier to accepting them. Only 2.5 million Germans wear a hearing aid. Why is it so hard for us to accept them? Misconstrued vanity, worries about being considered old?
Once one finally decides to get a hearing aid, that doesn't mean that you will be satisfied with it. 27% of all hearing aids that are sold, are not worn because their owners don't like them. "You have to learn to hear all over again," so say the hearing specialists. Since it takes so long to make the purchase, a pulsing flood of noises rush in when we finally surrender to the hearing aid. It can take up to three quarters of a year to adjust. Have I now waited too long? Will I ever really hear traffic sounds again?
A Self-Test with something we don't like to talk about. Well, why not?