If you currently use hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the United States, around 48 million people have hearing loss, of which 28.8 million could benefit from using 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 literally 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 elevate awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the improvements to the quality of life they produce?
Here are 10 ways to become a hearing health advocate.
1. Talk about hearing loss on social media
Social media is an easy 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 arrange your own to raise awareness or money for hearing loss.
Get in touch with your local hearing loss chapter and find ways you can help out 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 refurbished and supplied to those who couldn’t otherwise afford them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
These institutions use the donations to fund research, to deliver education and support, and to supply financial assistance 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 expense of hearing aids. Start a petition to show to your elected representatives, asking them to recognize hearing health as a integral aspect of general health.
6. Help someone overcome hearing loss
Plenty of people believe the misconception 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 advancements in hearing aids can help them recover their hearing. Help guide them through the steps of choosing a provider, getting their hearing tested, and adapting 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 can be found in movie theaters, churches, universities, and auditoriums.
Advocate for the addition of hearing loop systems in the most widely used community locations.
8. Wear hearing protection
One of the best ways to advocate for hearing health is by becoming a hearing health role model. That means protecting your hearing at loud settings, like at concerts or sporting events, with custom made hearing protection.
9. Get your hearing evaluated
If you don’t currently use hearing aids, prove your devotion to hearing health by having your hearing tested. Share the process on social media and suggests that other people 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 very common, similar to vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as common and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.