If you presently use hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the United States, around 48 million people have hearing loss, of which 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids.
Unfortunately, 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 losing out on the rewards of better hearing—advantages you understand first-hand if you wear hearing aids yourself or know someone who does.
So what can you do to promote awareness about the benefits of hearing aids and the enhancements to the quality of life they produce?
Here are ten ways to become a hearing health advocate.
1. Talk about hearing loss on social media
Social media is an easy and effective way to spread the message about the benefits of healthier hearing. Let people know how hearing aids work, and how they’ve personally enhanced your life or the life of someone you know.
Although people are typically skeptical of advertising, they’ll almost always be receptive to personal stories.
2. Volunteer to help those in need
Participate in a local activity like the Hearing Loss Association of America’s Walk4Hearing event, or coordinate your own to raise awareness or money for hearing loss.
Get in contact with your local hearing loss chapter and find 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 set 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 renovated and provided to those who couldn’t otherwise pay for them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
These establishments use the donations to finance research, to provide education and support, and to offer 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 cost of hearing aids. Start a petition to submit to your elected officials, asking them to recognize hearing health as a vital component of total health.
6. Help someone with hearing loss
Many people accept as true the myth that hearing aids don’t work, or they may even be denying they have a problem to begin with.
Help people to recognize and accept their hearing loss and understand that the technical innovations in hearing aids can help them reclaim their hearing. Help guide them through the process of finding a hearing care provider, getting their hearing tested, and adapting to their hearing aids.
7. Advocate for the community
Hearing loop systems deliver sound directly from the sound source to the individual’s hearing aids. These can be found in movie theaters, churches, universities, and auditoriums.
Advocate for the addition of hearing loop systems in the most widely used community locations.
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 loud venues, like at rock concerts or sporting events, with customized hearing protection.
9. Get your hearing evaluated
If you don’t already use hearing aids, express your devotion to hearing health by getting 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 proudly wearing your hearing aids. Hearing loss is widespread, just like vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as typical and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.