If you currently use hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the US, around 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 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 increase awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the improvements to the quality of life they provide?
The following are 10 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 about 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 event 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, think about donating your old hearing aids to a local organization or hearing clinic.
Your donated hearing aids can be renovated 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 organization.
These institutions use the donations to finance research, to provide 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 expense of hearing aids. Start a petition to show to your elected officials, asking them to recognize hearing health as a vital element of total 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 a problem in the first place.
Help people to recognize and accept their hearing loss and understand that the technical advances in hearing aids can help them get back 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 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 addition 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 being a hearing health role model. That means protecting your hearing at loud venues, like at rock concerts or sporting events, with custom made hearing protection.
9. Have your hearing tested
If you don’t already wear hearing aids, demonstrate your devotion to hearing health by getting 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 prevalent, similar to vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as typical and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.