If you already use hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the US, roughly 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—benefits you understand first-hand if you use hearing aids yourself or know someone who does.
So what can you do to enhance awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the improvements to the quality of life they produce?
Here are 10 ways to become a hearing health advocate.
1. Discuss hearing loss on social media
Social media is an easy and efficient way to spread the message about the benefits of better 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 in general 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 arrange your own to increase awareness or money for hearing loss.
Talk to 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 set to upgrade your hearing aids to a more recent model, consider donating your old hearing aids to a local organization or hearing clinic.
Your donated hearing aids can be restored and provided to those who couldn’t otherwise pay for them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
Consider contributing to an organization that supports the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, such as the Hearing Health Foundation, Hearing Charities of America, or a local group.
These establishments use the contributions to fund 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 help cover the cost of hearing aids. Start a petition to show to your elected representatives, asking them to recognize hearing health as a integral part of overall health.
6. Help someone overcome hearing loss
Many people believe 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 technological advances in hearing aids can help them reclaim their hearing. Help guide them through the steps of choosing a 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 are found in movie theaters, churches, universities, and auditoriums.
Advocate for the inclusion of hearing loop systems in the most popular community locations.
8. Wear hearing protection
Among the best ways to advocate for hearing health is by becoming a hearing health role model. That means safeguarding your hearing at very loud venues, like at live shows or sporting events, with custom hearing protection.
9. Have your hearing evaluated
If you don’t currently use hearing aids, display your commitment to hearing health by getting your hearing professionally tested. Share the process on social media and suggests that others do the same.
10. Proudly wear your hearing aids
Finally, you can do your part to end the stigma of hearing loss by proudly wearing your hearing aids. Hearing loss is widespread, much like vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as common and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.