Whether you are aware of it or not, media portrayals affect your thinking about a number of topics. Among these topics are hearing loss, deafness, and hearing aids. So, how does the media portray hearing loss, deafness, and conditions that require hearing aids? And how does that portrayal affect you and other members of the public?
To answer these questions, researchers analyzed how frequently the terms “hearing loss” and “hearing aid(s)” were mentioned in newspapers. In this study, the researchers specifically analyzed newspaper articles published from 1990 to 2017.
The study found that the most articles on “hearing loss” were published in The Washington Post (26 percent), U.S. Federal News Service (15 percent), the Chicago Tribune (14 percent), and Targeted News Service (13 percent). In contrast, most articles on “hearing aids” were published by the U.S. Federal News Service (50 percent). Other news sources published articles on hearing aids as well, though in lower frequency – including The Washington Post (8 percent), the Chicago Tribune (8 percent), The New York Times (7 percent), and Targeted News Service (7 percent).
In addition to determining which news outlets most often published articles on hearing loss and hearing aids, the study also found a change in how frequently articles were published on these topics over time. From the period of 1990 to 2017, the frequency increased. The researchers are uncertain whether this increase is due to a general increase in interest in these topics, an increase in the number of media outlets, or a combination of these factors.
The researchers also noticed a change in the popularity of certain hearing loss-related terms in the media. For example, “signal processing” was common from 2010 to 2016, while “cognitive hearing science” gained popularity more recently, from 2012 to 2016. These trends indicate that the newspaper articles responded to the popular discussions in hearing health care at the time.
The changing popularity of such terms affects the public’s awareness of and education on topics related to hearing loss, deafness, and hearing aids. As a reader, when you encounter new topics in hearing loss in media outlets – newspapers and otherwise – you can educate yourself on these topics. You can do further research yourself, or you can speak with your audiologist for more in-depth information.
From the findings of this study, the researchers believe that the newspapers presented a wide and realistic portrayal of hearing loss and hearing aids. This is especially important, as it means that the public is exposed to realistic and accurate portrayals of these topics. Understanding hearing loss and hearing health care is especially important now as it is estimated that 466 million people worldwide experience hearing loss.
To learn more about hearing loss and hearing aids in the media, or if you have any questions about hearing health care topics you have read about in the media, we encourage you to contact our audiology practice today. We are eager to provide you with the information you need.