If you already wear hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the US, about 48 million people 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 merely 16 percent.
That’s millions of Americans that are losing out on the advantages 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 enhance awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the enhancements to the quality of life they offer?
Below are ten ways to become an advocate for hearing health.
1. Discuss hearing loss on social media
Social media is a simple and effective way to spread the message regarding the positive effects 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 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 plan 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. Visit 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 newer model, think about 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
These establishments use the donations to finance 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 mandate health insurance plans to help cover the expense of hearing aids. Start a petition to show to your elected representatives, asking them to recognize hearing health as a critical element 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 technological innovations in hearing aids can help them reclaim their hearing. Help guide them through the steps of choosing a provider, getting their hearing tested, and adjusting 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 are found in churches, movie theaters, auditoriums, and universities.
Advocate for the addition of hearing loop systems in the most popular community locations.
8. Wear hearing protection
Among 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. Have your hearing tested
If you don’t already use hearing aids, prove your dedication to hearing health by having your hearing professionally tested. Share the process on social media and suggests that others do the same.
10. Wear your hearing aids with pride
Last, you can do your part to end the stigma of hearing loss by proudly wearing your hearing aids. Hearing loss is widespread, similar to vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as typical and acceptable as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.