If you currently use hearing aids, you’ve already beat the odds.
In the US, approximately 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 millions of Americans that are losing out on the advantages 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 promote awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the improvements to the quality of life they offer?
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 regarding 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.
Although people are typically 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 host your own to raise awareness or money for hearing loss.
Get in touch 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 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 restored and supplied to those who couldn’t otherwise pay for them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
Consider donating 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 fund research, to deliver education and support, and to offer financial help to those who can’t afford 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 critical component of total health.
6. Help someone with hearing loss
Many people accept as true the myth that hearing aids don’t work, or they may even be denying they have a problem in the first place.
Help people to accept their hearing loss and understand that the technical advancements in hearing aids can help them get back their hearing. Help guide them through the process of choosing a provider, getting a hearing test, and adjusting to their hearing aids.
7. Advocate for the community
Hearing loop systems deliver sound straight from the sound source to the individual’s hearing aids. These can be found in churches, movie theaters, auditoriums, and universities.
Advocate for the introduction of hearing loop systems in the most widely used community venues.
8. Wear 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 rock concerts or sporting events, with custom hearing protection.
9. Get your hearing tested
If you don’t already wear hearing aids, express your commitment to hearing health by getting 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 common, similar to vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as typical and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.