If you already use hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.
In the United States, about 48 million individuals have hearing loss, of which 28.8 million could benefit from using 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 merely 16 percent.
That’s literally millions of Americans that are losing out on the benefits of better hearing—advantages 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 offer?
Here are ten ways to become an advocate for hearing health.
1. Talk about hearing loss on social media
Social media is an easy and effective way to spread the message regarding the positive effects of better hearing. Let people know how hearing aids work, and how they’ve personally improved your life or the life of someone you know.
While 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 activity like the Hearing Loss Association of America’s Walk4Hearing event, or coordinate your own to increase awareness or funds 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 set to upgrade your hearing aids to a more recent 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 donating to an organization that provides support the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, such as the Hearing Health Foundation, Hearing Charities of America, or a local institution.
These establishments use the donations to finance research, to provide education and support, and to offer financial assistance to those who can’t afford hearing aids or cochlear implants.
5. Start a petition
Most states do not mandate health insurance plans to cover the expense of hearing aids. Start a petition to deliver to your elected officials, asking them to recognize hearing health as a vital component of overall health.
6. Help someone overcome hearing loss
Many 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 recognize and accept their hearing loss and understand that the technological advancements 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 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 inclusion of hearing loop systems in the most popular community venues.
8. Use hearing protection
Among the best ways to advocate for hearing health is by becoming a hearing health role model. That means safeguarding your hearing at loud settings, like at live shows or sporting events, with customized hearing protection.
9. Have your hearing evaluated
If you don’t currently use hearing aids, display your dedication to hearing health by getting your hearing tested. Share the process on social media and suggests that others do the same.
10. Proudly wear your hearing aids
Finally, 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.