If you currently use hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the US, around 48 million individuals have hearing loss, of which 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids.
However, of those age 70 and older, only 30 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. For those age 20 to 69, it’s only 16 percent.
That’s millions of Americans that are missing out on the benefits of improved hearing—advantages you understand first-hand if you use hearing aids yourself or know someone who does.
So what can you do to improve awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the enhancements to the quality of life they produce?
Below are 10 ways to become an advocate for hearing health.
1. Discuss hearing loss on social media
Social media is an easy and efficient way to spread the message regarding the positive effects of healthier hearing. Let people know how hearing aids work, and how they’ve personally improved your life or the life of someone you know.
While people are normally skeptical of advertising, they’ll almost always be receptive to personal stories.
2. Volunteer to help those in need
Participate in a local event like the Hearing Loss Association of America’s Walk4Hearing event, or plan your own to boost awareness or money for hearing loss.
Talk to your local hearing loss chapter and discover ways you can assist in the community. Visit the Hearing Loss Association of America to find a local chapter.
3. Donate your old hearing aids
If you’re prepared to upgrade your hearing aids to a more recent model, look into donating your old hearing aids to a local organization or hearing clinic.
Your donated hearing aids can be reconditioned and supplied to those who couldn’t otherwise pay for them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
These establishments use the donations to fund research, to deliver education and support, and to supply financial help to those who can’t afford hearing aids or cochlear implants.
5. Start a petition
Most states do not mandate health insurance plans to cover the expense of hearing aids. Start a petition to introduce to your elected officials, asking them to recognize hearing health as a integral aspect of general health.
6. Help someone overcome hearing loss
Many people accept as true the myth that hearing aids don’t work, or they may even be denying they have hearing loss to begin with.
Help people to recognize and accept their hearing loss and understand that the technological innovations in hearing aids can help them get back their hearing. Help guide them through the process of choosing a hearing care provider, getting a hearing test, and adapting to their hearing aids.
7. Advocate for the community
Hearing loop systems send sound directly from the source to the individual’s hearing aids. These can be found in churches, movie theaters, auditoriums, and universities.
Advocate for the introduction of hearing loop systems in the most popular community venues.
8. Use hearing protection
One of the most effective ways to advocate for hearing health is by being a hearing health role model. That means protecting your hearing at very loud settings, like at rock concerts or sporting events, with custom made hearing protection.
9. Get your hearing evaluated
If you don’t currently wear hearing aids, prove your commitment to hearing health by having your hearing tested. Share the process on social media and suggests that other people do the same.
10. Wear your hearing aids with pride
Finally, you can do your part to end the stigma of hearing loss by wearing your hearing aids with pride. Hearing loss is common, just like vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as normal and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.