If you currently wear hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the United States, approximately 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 only 16 percent.
That’s millions of Americans that are losing out on the rewards 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 raise awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the enhancements to the quality of life they provide?
The following are ten ways to become a hearing health advocate.
1. Discuss hearing loss on social media
Social media is a simple and efficient way to spread the message regarding the positive effects of healthier hearing. Let people know how hearing aids work, and how they’ve personally improved your life or the life of someone you know.
Although people are generally skeptical of advertising, they’ll almost 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 host your own to raise awareness or funds 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 newer model, look into 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 organizations use the contributions to finance research, to deliver 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 require 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 vital element of total health.
6. Help someone overcome hearing loss
Plenty of 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 advancements in hearing aids can help them regain their hearing. Help guide them through the process of finding a hearing care provider, getting their hearing tested, and adjusting to their hearing aids.
7. Advocate for the community
Hearing loop systems send sound straight from the sound source to the individual’s hearing aids. These are found in churches, movie theaters, auditoriums, and universities.
Advocate for the inclusion of hearing loop systems in the most popular community venues.
8. Use hearing protection
One of the most effective ways to advocate for hearing health is by being a hearing health role model. That means protecting your hearing at very loud settings, like at live shows or sporting events, with customized hearing protection.
9. Get your hearing evaluated
If you don’t already wear hearing aids, prove your dedication to hearing health by having your hearing tested. Share the process on social media and suggests that others do the same.
10. Proudly wear your hearing aids
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 widespread, just like vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as natural and acceptable as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.