If you currently wear hearing aids, you’ve already beat the odds.
In the United States, approximately 48 million people have hearing loss, of which 28.8 million could benefit from utilizing 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 millions of Americans that are losing out on the advantages 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 raise awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the improvements to the quality of life they offer?
Below are 10 ways to become a hearing health advocate.
1. Talk about hearing loss on social media
Social media is a simple and effective way to spread the message about the benefits of better hearing. Tell people about 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 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 organize your own to raise awareness or money for hearing loss.
Contact your local hearing loss chapter and find ways you can assist in the community. Check out the Hearing Loss Association of America to find a local chapter.
3. Donate your old hearing aids
If you’re ready 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 afford them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
Consider contributing to an organization that provides support the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, such as the Hearing Health Foundation, Hearing Charities of America, or a local institution.
These organizations use the contributions to fund research, to provide education and support, and to supply financial help to those who can’t pay for hearing aids or cochlear implants.
5. Start a petition
Most states do not require health insurance plans to help cover the cost of hearing aids. Start a petition to submit to your elected officials, asking them to recognize hearing health as a vital part of total 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 technical advances in hearing aids can help them recover their hearing. Help guide them through the process of choosing a provider, getting their hearing tested, and adapting to their hearing aids.
7. Advocate for the community
Hearing loop systems send sound straight from the source to the individual’s hearing aids. These are found in movie theaters, churches, universities, and auditoriums.
Advocate for the introduction of hearing loop systems in the most popular community venues.
8. Use hearing protection
One of the best ways to advocate for hearing health is by becoming a hearing health role model. That means safeguarding your hearing at very loud settings, like at concerts or sporting events, with customized hearing protection.
9. Get your hearing evaluated
If you don’t currently use hearing aids, prove your commitment 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
Last, you can do your part to get rid of the stigma of hearing loss by proudly wearing your hearing aids. Hearing loss is common, just like vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as common and acceptable as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.