Earth Day (April 22nd) is celebrated each year in April and serves as a reminder to look at our lives to find ways to treat planet Earth with a little more kindness. Going green is no longer a trend; it has quickly become a movement that is sweeping across the entire world.
So how about for hearing aid wearers and those conscience about their hearing, can they be greener? Surprisingly it wasn't too much of stretch to find a few simple ways for green hearing health.
Here are some simple tips on how you and your hearing aids can go green this year:
1. Buy Mercury-Free Hearing Aid Batteries
Mercury is a heavy metal and is present in trace amounts in some batteries. And although hearing aid batteries contain a very small amount of mercury, each time you toss your hearing aid batteries into the trash, eventually – maybe years from now – that small amount of mercury is going to work its way into our water supply.
The trend in hearing aid batteries is moving toward greener pastures. Within the last few years, leading hearing aid battery manufactures have began manufacturing and distributing mercury-free hearing aid batteries in the United States.
So next time it is time to replace your hearing aid battery supply, consider going green.
2. Buy Batteries in Simple Packaging
You buy a package of some hearing aid batteries and there's a cardboard backing or box, shrink wrap, then a plastic shield, then safety, tamper-proof seals and on and on. By the time you actually get to the batteries you have a pile of trash littering the kitchen table.
When you buy hearing aid batteries – or any consumer product – look for the least amount of waste in packaging. Does that bottle of aspirin really need a separate cardboard box to protect it? It may be a little thing but little things mean a lot when everyone does them.
3. DON'T buy Cheap Disposable Hearing Aids
Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) found cheap hearing aids, those less than $100, are not worth your pennies when it comes down to consumer satisfaction.
And with the color green on our mind, these disposable cheap hearing aids are wasteful. Due to the poor sound quality and low consumer satisfaction, these cheap hearing aids end up in the garbage and landfill (not even worth putting in the drawer).
Need more convincing? MSU researchers also found hearing aids priced under $100 are actually a safety hazard for your hearing.
Bottom line? Purchase hearing aids that you wear for years. Better hearing and a better life are a worthy investment for you and the Earth.
Your hearing will thank you and know you are doing your part for a better, greener future for our kids and grandkids.
4. Donate Your Old Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
You may have outgrown yours or are ready for an upgrade, but to someone else your hearing aids are valuable pieces of equipment you're about to toss.
Did you know behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids can be refurbished, cleaned up and reprogrammed for someone else? All it takes is that person purchasing new custom earmolds to attach to the hearing aids.
So if it is time for you to purchase new hearing aids and your current ones are still working (and aren't from the Stone Age) consider donating them so someone less fortunate with hearing loss may benefit from them. You know the sang "one person's junk is another's treasure".
For more information on used hearing aids read: Used Hearing Aids on Healthy Hearing.
5. Buy Quality, Permanent Hearing Protection
You can go to the local pharmacy and pick up a pack of foam ear plugs that can be rolled up and used once (or twice if you don't mind a little ear wax the next time). However after one or two uses, they are done for and end up in the garbage. Wasteful and not to mention, they are not the most comfortable thing to put inside your ear canal.
For persons who frequently wear protection (which should be everyone) might we suggest custom hearing protection – something that will last, is more comfortable and provide a higher degree of protection and a better listening experience?
Custom ear protection is made after a hearing care professional makes an impression of your ear with a silicone material. This impression is then sent of to have the custom protection made.
Custom ear protection may be made with special filters depending upon the type of noise you are protecting yourself from (i.e. music, machinery, etc). For shooting sports enthusiasts you may want to consider investing in hear-through ear muffs that engage protection only when a shot occurs – allowing safety and protection.
Custom ear protection is available through your hearing care professional – discuss your protection needs with them so they may choose the right product for you.
6. Take Care of Your Hearing Aids
If you take care of those expensive little ear aids you won't have to replace them as often. Now, that's not only good for the green in your wallet, it's good for a greener planet.
Wipe your hearing aids clean each day using a soft cloth. And keep them away from dogs (especially large dogs who like to eat things), kids, the tropical fish tank and swimming pool.
For more information on taking care of your hearing aids you may read: Take Care of Your Hearing Aids, So They Take Care of You.
Also, take your ears and hearing aids in for a regular tune up. Visit your hearing professional at least once a year so adjustments can be made to improve your listening experience if your hearing changes and for your hearing aids to have a thorough cleaning.
You may not think about your hearing aids, batteries, packaging and all of that other stuff as important to a greener, healthier planet. But if you're like most of us, you think about a healthier you and a healthier Earth will lead to a healthier you.
So, this Earth Day, take a moment to look through your life to find ways to use less and recycle more.
The future of our home depends on it so do your part – even if it's a little part.