Today marks Earth Day’s 50th anniversary! Join us in flooding the world with hope, optimism, and action. With our environmentally conscious community of hearing aid users in mind, here are six of my favorite ways that healthy hearing can also mean a healthy planet.


1. Consider cutting edge rechargeable hearing aids

Most hearing aid manufacturers offer rechargeable hearing aids these days. Rather than changing a battery weekly in both hearing aids, the hearing aids sit in a charger overnight and are fully charged within 3-4 hours, depending on the manufacturer. Not only do you save money on batteries, but you are also reducing your own carbon footprint by replacing one set of rechargeable batteries every 1500 charging cycles (approximately 4 years) instead of two disposable batteries per week. Call us to learn more.


2. Buy mercury-free hearing aid batteries

Mercury is a toxic heavy metal. When you discard hearing aid batteries, that mercury can work its way from our landfills into our water supply. At Animas Valley Audiology, we only use Rayovac Proline mercury-free hearing aid batteries. Our battery club allows you to purchase these long lasting, mercury-free batteries and even earn free packages over time.


3. Recycle used hearing aid batteries

At Animas Valley Audiology, we will collect used batteries to recycle. This is a great hassle-free, environmentally friendly way to dispose of your used batteries. Simply save your old batteries in a small container, bring them with you to your next appointment, or feel free to drop them off the next time you are near either location in Durango or Cortez.


4. Choose manufacturers with simple packaging and eco-friendly facilities

Many hearing aids themselves or hearing aid batteries are shipped with unnecessary packaging. Talk to your provider about which companies are the most conscientious. We love that one of the manufacturers we work with, Widex, has a first-class, eco-friendly headquarters in Denmark. It combines the use of renewable energy from their own wind power, groundwater system, solar cells and  rainwater collection to maintain their groundwater aquifer, all of which not only covers Widex’ own energy consumption, but also delivers a surplus of energy back to the power grid.


5. Use custom fit hearing protection rather than disposable earplugs

Disposable earplugs are designed to only be used once. Earplugs quickly become covered in bacteria and also are made of an expandable foam that loses its protective expansion with repeated use. Custom hearing protection is made of a hypoallergenic silicone material that does not lose its shape over time and can be washed with soap and water. They can be worn for many years. Custom earplugs are significantly more comfortable than disposable plugs because they fit your individual ear perfectly. Additionally, we have many styles based on the type of noise exposure, so the noise reduction rate (NRR) is more personalized to our patients’ needs rather than a generic fit. Whether you ride motorcycles, attend concerts, work in construction or have a snoring sweetheart, we have the perfect custom earplug style for you.


6. Donate old hearing aids

Many styles of hearing aids can be donated to be fit on others who experience hearing loss and cannot afford new technology. Our patients who donate their previous aids when upgrading to new units are pleased to learn that we send them to non-profit organizations who fit them on children and adults in other countries, including China, Belize, Nicaragua and Mexico. Sometimes, the technology is even fit on someone right here within our community in Southwest Colorado. Please contact us if you have hearing aids you’d like to donate.


Going green can be easier than one may think, and we love helping facilitate eco-friendly choices with our patients. If you want to be part of the change in 2020, we encourage you to visit and join us by finding ways to change your daily living which will have a positive environmental impact on a local and global level.


Dr. Chandace Wilson Jeep, Au.D. is a certified Doctor of Audiology and fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. She specializes in diagnosis of hearing loss and tinnitus in adults, children, and newborns as well as advanced fitting of hearing aids. She was born and raised in Durango and returned to our community in 2008. Dr. Jeep has practiced for 14 years and owns Animas Valley Audiology with office locations in both Durango and Cortez.

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