If you currently use hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the United States, around 48 million individuals 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 only 16 percent.
That’s literally millions of Americans that are missing out on the benefits of better 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 enhancements to the quality of life they provide?
Here are ten ways to become a hearing health advocate.
1. Discuss hearing loss on social media
Social media is an easy and effective way to spread the message about the benefits of healthier 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 normally 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 raise awareness or money for hearing loss.
Get in contact with 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 prepared 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 restored and supplied to those who couldn’t otherwise pay for them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
These establishments use the contributions to fund research, to deliver education and support, and to offer financial assistance 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 cost of hearing aids. Start a petition to introduce to your elected representatives, asking them to recognize hearing health as a critical element of general health.
6. Help someone overcome hearing loss
Plenty of 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 technical advances in hearing aids can help them reclaim their hearing. Help guide them through the steps of finding a hearing care provider, getting a hearing test, and adapting 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 can be found in movie theaters, churches, universities, and auditoriums.
Advocate for the inclusion of hearing loop systems in the most widely used community venues.
8. Use hearing protection
One of the best ways to advocate for hearing health is by being a hearing health role model. That means safeguarding your hearing at loud venues, like at live shows or sporting events, with customized hearing protection.
9. Get your hearing evaluated
If you don’t currently use hearing aids, illustrate 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 get rid of the stigma of hearing loss by wearing your hearing aids with pride. Hearing loss is very common, similar to vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as normal and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.