Recently, in the Netherlands, a chain of hearing aid acousticians has
let themselves be talked about with an advertisement, unfortunately in a
negative way. The video and the accompanying pictures show an elderly
lady in front of an acoustics store, and the same lady leaving the store
as a teenager.
According to acoustic chains, they want to reach the target group of elderly hearing impaired people who often wait too long with a hearing aid. But this shot goes all the way to the back.
First, you don’t get 50 years younger and slimmer with a hearing aid, otherwise I myself would have been beautiful and slim for about 35 years. Secondly, hearing impairment has no age limits.
Such an advertisement once again reinforces all clichés, taboos and
stigmatizations about hearing impairment and hearing aids in one. I
wonder why this has to be so.
Of course I understand the attempt to reach a certain target group, but this target group (or others) could also be approached quite differently. For example, I have in mind a slogan like “Our hearing aids are too good to hide”, or “We love hearing aids that can be shown”, or “Hearing aids don’t care about age, but about functionality“.
As I have written before (in the article “Showing your colours”), most hearing aid advertisements send a completely wrong signal that the prejudices of people with good hearing (hearing impaired people are old and you have to be ashamed of a hearing impairment or wearing hearing aids) are only confirmed and destroy all attempts at inclusion.
Why don’t acousticians and hearing aid manufacturers invest in
advertising that is more realistic and still allows them to present
their hearing aids well?
No, dear acousticians and hearing aid manufacturers, with a hearing aid “the world doesn’t open up” and you can’t take part in table discussions again in comfort. With a hearing aid you can at best understand a little better again, but once you are a hearing impaired person you may become a somewhat better hearing person wearing a hearing aid, but you will never be a good hearing person.
Actually, advertising for hearing aids or acoustics needs a disclaimer, just like advertising for medication. In the same way as “Our hearing aids are aids and not miracle cures. If in doubt, ask your ENT doctor or acoustician”.
Such a disclaimer would not only be fair, but would bring reality
much closer. Unfortunately, I do not see any change in advertising in
the near future, so I am considering whether it would be worthwhile to
launch a campaign that should include a disclaimer in hearing aid
What do you think, dear readers? I am happy to receive your feedback.