Living with Hearing Loss: Journeys of Baby Boomer Men



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The Baby Boom generation represents a timeframe marked with unprecedented birth rates and socio-cultural changes. As Baby Boomers continue to age, their hearing healthcare needs will need to be addressed. Hearing loss is known to affect people across all ages and it has the potential to psycho-socially affect a person’s life if it is left unmanaged or untreated. Using such theoretical perspectives as the health belief, health lifestyle, gender socialization, life course, looking glass self, presentation of self, and stigma, this study seeks to better understand the social effects of living with hearing loss. This study consisted of interviews with 17 Baby Boomer men currently living with hearing loss and who are current users of hearing aids. From the experiences of these Baby Boomer men, this study found that the participants faced barriers and facilitators in hearing aid acquisition and usage. The participants were found to engage in many strategies navigating the challenges of hearing loss. Living with hearing loss and the use of hearing aids were found to have had an effect on the participants' interpersonal relationships and their self-image. Hearing aids helped to compensate for the obstacles faced with hearing loss and were found to improve social ties. As hearing aids become more accessible in future years, they have the potential of becoming less stigmatized over time and possibly improve our common understanding of the different experiences of living with hearing loss.