If you currently use hearing aids, you’ve already beat the odds.
In the US, about 48 million people have hearing loss, of which 28.8 million could benefit from utilizing 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 merely 16 percent.
That’s millions of Americans that are losing out on the advantages of healthier hearing—benefits 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?
Below are 10 ways to become an advocate for hearing health.
1. Talk about hearing loss on social media
Social media is a simple and effective way to spread the message about the positive effects of better hearing. Tell people about how hearing aids work, and how they’ve personally improved your life or the life of someone you know.
While people are in general 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 arrange your own to increase awareness or funds for hearing loss.
Get in contact with your local hearing loss chapter and find ways you can help out 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 newer model, consider donating your old hearing aids to a local organization or hearing clinic.
Your donated hearing aids can be renovated and supplied to those who couldn’t otherwise pay for them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
Consider donating 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 organization.
These institutions use the donations to fund research, to provide 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 help cover the cost of hearing aids. Start a petition to deliver to your elected officials, asking them to recognize hearing health as a integral element of overall health.
6. Help someone overcome hearing loss
Many people accept as true the misconception that hearing aids don’t work, or they may even be denying they have hearing loss in the first place.
Help people to recognize and accept their hearing loss and understand that the technological advancements in hearing aids can help them regain their hearing. Help guide them through the process of finding a provider, getting a hearing test, and adjusting to their hearing aids.
7. Advocate for the community
Hearing loop systems supply 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 widely used community locations.
8. Use hearing protection
Among the best ways to advocate for hearing health is by being a hearing health role model. That means safeguarding your hearing at very loud venues, like at live shows or sporting events, with custom made hearing protection.
9. Get your hearing tested
If you don’t already use hearing aids, prove your commitment to hearing health by having your hearing professionally 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 common, similar to vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as normal and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.