Nearly 48 million Americans live with some degree of hearing loss, but as an invisible disability, it often goes unnoticed. So, in an effort to get more people around the world talking about it, Cochlear, an Australian company that specializes in hearing implants, has created a seriously thought-provoking ad.
The ad, a short film called Does Love Last Forever, is being shown before screenings of the Oscar-nominated movie Lion in some theaters, according to Australian site Mumbrella. It follows a couple throughout their relationship, and it has two different outcomes depending on how well you can hear the audio during certain parts of the film. It also removes the visual clues, such as lip-reading and hand gestures, that people with hearing loss often look out for. In this way, the ad acts as a sort of hearing test, helping people identify whether or not they have undiagnosed hearing loss.
Because of the low volume level used in the film, people who have hearing problems might assume that the couple's relationship is falling apart. Meanwhile, people who don't have hearing problems might think the couple is happy and in love.
Cochlear senior audiologist Emma Ramsay hopes the two different endings will encourage viewers who struggle with hearing loss to seek help.
"We know how many precious moments are missed for those people living with hearing loss," she said in a statement. "Over time, people can lose friendships, their career, hobbies, self-esteem, and even their connections to loved ones. By creating something unique like the hearing test in disguise, we're hoping to get Australians talking about hearing loss, sharing the film with people they love — especially those who may be in denial about their hearing loss — and, ultimately, seeking help."
Find out more about hearing loss and how to get support at hearingloss.org.