Make a difference text on paper

If you already wear hearing aids, you’ve already overcome the odds.

In the United States, approximately 48 million individuals have hearing loss, of which 28.8 million could benefit from utilizing 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 merely 16 percent.

That’s millions of Americans that are missing out on the rewards 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 raise awareness about the positive effects of hearing aids and the improvements to the quality of life they produce?

Below are ten ways to become an advocate for hearing health.

1. Discuss hearing loss on social media

Social media is a simple and efficient way to spread the message about the benefits of better hearing. Let people know how hearing aids work, and how they’ve personally enhanced your life or the life of someone you know.

While people are normally 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 coordinate your own to boost awareness or funds for hearing loss.

Talk to 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 newer model, look into 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 afford 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 institution.

These establishments use the contributions to fund research, to deliver education and support, and to supply financial help 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 cost of hearing aids. Start a petition to submit to your elected officials, asking them to recognize hearing health as a critical aspect of overall 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 a problem in the first place.

Help people to recognize and accept their hearing loss and understand that the technological advances in hearing aids can help them reclaim their hearing. Help guide them through the steps of choosing a provider, getting a hearing test, and adapting 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 movie theaters, churches, universities, and auditoriums.

Advocate for the addition of hearing loop systems in the most popular community locations.

8. Use 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 loud venues, like at live shows or sporting events, with custom hearing protection.

9. Have your hearing evaluated

If you don’t currently use hearing aids, illustrate your dedication to hearing health by having your hearing 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 get rid of the stigma of hearing loss by wearing your hearing aids with pride. 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.