If you presently wear hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the US, around 48 million people have hearing loss, of which 28.8 million could benefit from using 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 merely 16 percent.
That’s literally millions of Americans that are missing out on the benefits of better hearing—advantages you understand first-hand if you use hearing aids yourself or know someone who does.
So what can you do to increase awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the enhancements to the quality of life they produce?
Below are 10 ways to become a hearing health advocate.
1. Discuss hearing loss on social media
Social media is a simple and efficient 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 generally 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 funds for hearing loss.
Get in touch 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 prepared to upgrade your hearing aids to a more recent model, think about donating your old hearing aids to a local organization or hearing clinic.
Your donated hearing aids can be refurbished and provided to those who couldn’t otherwise afford them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
These organizations use the donations to finance research, to deliver education and support, and to offer financial assistance to those who can’t afford hearing aids or cochlear implants.
5. Start a petition
Most states do not mandate health insurance plans to help cover the cost of hearing aids. Start a petition to deliver to your elected representatives, asking them to recognize hearing health as a vital element 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 accept their hearing loss and understand that the technical advances in hearing aids can help them get back their hearing. Help guide them through the steps of choosing a hearing care provider, getting a hearing test, and adjusting to their hearing aids.
7. Advocate for the community
Hearing loop systems deliver sound directly from the 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 becoming a hearing health role model. That means safeguarding your hearing at loud settings, like at rock concerts or sporting events, with custom made hearing protection.
9. Have your hearing tested
If you don’t currently wear hearing aids, express your dedication to hearing health by getting your hearing professionally tested. Share the process on social media and suggests that other people do the same.
10. Proudly wear your hearing aids
Last, you can do your part to get rid of the stigma of hearing loss by wearing your hearing aids with pride. Hearing loss is widespread, similar to vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as natural and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.