I see a lot of adverts in the newspapers and on the TV for glasses. Every day there are full-page adverts in the papers and prime-time adverts on the big TV channels. Everyone is doing “Buy one get one free” offers or “Designer frames for free” etc etc. Glasses are cool, the designer frames are expensive, celebrities endorse them.
According to the Royal National Institute For The Blind there are two million blind or partially sighted people in the UK. This number does seem very low to me but that’s the only figure I could find.
Compare that two million to the estimated nine million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK.
Where are all the hearing aid adverts? Interestingly we have two big-name chains over here who sell both glasses and hearing aids, Boots and Specsavers. Both chains have regular glasses adverts but I can’t recall seeing a hearing aid advert from either, except for signs in their shop window.
Why aren’t hearing aids advertised on prime-time television? Do those nine million people even know where to go to buy a hearing aid? We are starting to see some celebrities backing campaigns to raise awareness of hearing damage – I’d like to see an A-lister advertising the latest digital model on Saturday evening TV. Maybe if adverts started showing hearing aids as being cool then maybe more people would use them and the remaining stigma would disappear. Prices would come down too as the number of units being sold went up and competition increased.
It wasn’t that long ago that glasses where painfully un-cool, you could only buy horrible looking thick lenses with unattractive frames. Now it’s all about the look and some people even wear them when they don’t need to. With some advertising hearing aids could get there too.