While it may be easy to minimize hearing loss, it is a medical condition that can present significant health risks and challenges to those affected. Each day, people with hearing loss may struggle to hear their loved ones, miss out on conversations at work, and have difficulty hearing important announcements in public places.
Of course, having hearing loss doesn’t mean someone can’t have a meaningful and productive life—they just may have to do things differently. And we as a society can (and should) do more to help. Consider these ideas for making the world a better place for people with hearing loss:
Increase understanding and acceptance of hearing loss
Unfortunately, hearing loss often isn’t taken as seriously as other health conditions, even though it is often linked to other, more serious medical conditions. Raising awareness about hearing loss—how it is caused, and the associated physical and mental health risks—can help change perceptions and ensure hearing loss is viewed and treated as seriously as other medical conditions.
Expand accommodations for people with hearing loss
While most public buildings today have ramps or elevators for those with mobility issues, accommodations for the hard of hearing aren’t as common. You can help change this by, for example, advocating for closed captioning at movie theaters or requesting voice-to-text phone systems or other reasonable accommodations at work to help colleagues with difficulty hearing.
Help people get their hearing tested
Big changes can be made in small ways, starting with encouraging people you know to have their hearing tested. Many individuals with diminished hearing might not realize they have a problem—or how severe their hearing loss actually is. Seeing the results of an audiogram can convince them to take the steps needed to address their hearing loss and seek appropriate treatment.
Make hearing aids more accepted
Many individuals who need them won’t wear hearing aids simply because they think others will view them as old or infirm. Unfortunately, some people really do think those things when they see someone wearing hearing aids. Society as a whole can increase hearing aid acceptance by moving past those negative perceptions and recognizing hearing aids as modern technological devices that change people’s lives for the better.
Don’t wait to be asked
Anyone can make a difference in the world. Whether you have hearing loss, know people who do, or just want to help people who need it, you don’t have to wait to be asked to do your part. If you see an opportunity for a public building to better serve the hard of hearing, speak up and ask them to make reasonable accommodations. Know someone who you believe has hearing loss? Offer to drive them to a hearing care professional to have their hearing evaluated.
Encouraging the world to be more accepting and accessible for those with hearing loss can make a huge difference in their lives. With the above ideas, we can all do our part to ensure society makes life easier for these individuals.