If you currently wear hearing aids, you’ve already beat the odds.
In the United States, approximately 48 million individuals 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 millions of Americans that are missing out on the rewards of improved hearing—benefits you understand first-hand if you wear hearing aids yourself or know someone who does.
So what can you do to increase awareness about the benefits of hearing aids and the improvements to the quality of life they offer?
Below 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 about 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 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 increase awareness or funds for hearing loss.
Get in contact with your local hearing loss chapter and find ways you can assist in the community. Visit 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, think about donating your old hearing aids to a local organization or hearing clinic.
Your donated hearing aids can be reconditioned and supplied to those who couldn’t otherwise afford them.
4. Contribute to hearing health organizations
These organizations use the contributions to finance research, to deliver education and support, and to offer 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 cover the expense of hearing aids. Start a petition to submit to your elected representatives, asking them to recognize hearing health as a vital part of overall 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 hearing loss to begin with.
Help people to recognize and accept their hearing loss and understand that the technical innovations in hearing aids can help them reclaim their hearing. Help guide them through the process of choosing a provider, getting their hearing tested, and adjusting to their hearing aids.
7. Advocate for the community
Hearing loop systems supply 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 widely used community locations.
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 loud venues, like at rock concerts or sporting events, with custom hearing protection.
9. Get your hearing evaluated
If you don’t currently use hearing aids, illustrate your dedication to hearing health by having 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 get rid of the stigma of hearing loss by proudly wearing your hearing aids. Hearing loss is common, just like vision loss, and wearing hearing aids should be as natural and accepted as wearing a pair of prescription glasses.