Do you think media images of outdated hearing aids are helping to perpetuate the negative stigma surrounding hearing loss? When AARP faced a similar issue with photos of seniors, they partnered with Getty Images to change it. In my latest article for FindHearing, I discuss how more modern images could help break down hearing loss stigma and call on Getty Images and others to help us make it a reality. See an excerpt from the piece below.
Where are Stock Images of People with Hearing Loss?
Have you ever looked for a stock image of someone with hearing loss? They are not easy to find. This leaves few options for media outlets searching for images to use with news stories about hearing loss. This problem is on clear display in recent posts from Huffington Post and The Conversation.
Photo Credit: Dr. Barbra Timmer, Audiology Australia
Each article features hearing devices that are decades old. Outdated images perpetuate the stigmatized idea that hearing aids are ugly, embarrassing and should be hidden from view. More realistic imagery would help break down this stigma and reduce some of the social barriers people face when considering whether or not to give hearing aids a try.
The truth is that many hearing devices are attractive. Today’s hearing aids come in sleek colors and boast modern shapes. They have shrunk in size to fit discreetly behind an ear or can be personalized with stickers and jewelry to make them more visible. Hearing aids can be worn with pride and confidence, yet often they are not, as misinformation and a dearth of role models keeps the stigma alive.
Current stock images of hearing aids are outdated, inaccurate and unattractive
More realistic images would help break down much of the stigma associated with hearing aids, but where can we find them? Few good options exist.
In 2019, AARP faced a similar problem with stereotypes surrounding aging, bemoaning the lack of attractive images of people 50+ enjoying the active lifestyle that more accurately reflects aging in today’s world. In collaboration with Getty Images, they decided to do something about it, launching the Disrupt Aging Collection, a paid library of more than 1,400 images that paint a more accurate portrait of how people age in today’s society — free of ageist stereotypes.
Can we do the same for people with hearing loss — only with free images? What do you say Getty Images? Can you help?
Continue reading on FindHearing for ways you can help break down stigma.