Showing the Love for Our Hearing Technology

We don’t mean to be mean. Sure, there was a time when we may have hated our hearing aids because they were too loud, too big, too ugly – and we didn’t really need them in the first place, right, but the family was nagging so much. 

And those cochlear implant sound processors! The bland color, the size, the way they guzzled battery power!

But we’re all over that now, aren’t we? If so, why don’t we always treat them with the necessary attention?

I’ve been wearing hearing aids for 40 years and a cochlear implant sound processor for one year. I should know all the right things to do, but on occasion I’m a little sloppy and don’t show these helpful and expensive techno-babies the TLC they deserve.

Last year, I lost my hearing aid, one of two that I have for my left ear. I was stumped at how this could happen. I searched everywhere – I even went to the lost and found of the ferry I’d taken from Vancouver to my home in Victoria a couple of days before.

“You’re looking for what, ma’am?”

“My hearing aid. It’s about this small, a sort of silvery color?”

“And on what sailing did you lose it?”

“I’m not 100% sure. I know it was the 9am from Vancouver, but it could have been three days ago, or a week ago Tuesday.”

She gave me a look. “Didn’t you notice at the time that things seemed, uh, a little quieter?  But I’m sorry, there’s nothing in our log book about a lost silvery hearing aid.”

Sure by now that the cat had got it, I made an appointment with my audiologist. Just before I left to see her, I did one more search, this time in the it-couldn’t-possibly-be-there places and voila! It was under my bedside table, which you can only get at by moving it – when vacuuming, for example, which I clearly don’t do often enough. But I was still confused – how in blazes did it get there? 

The other day, I asked myself another question when, walking about our camper, Flag, I stepped on something. What was that?”

Oh, great. My hearing aid.

Lucky for me – although I’m not sure I deserve such luck – I stepped on the ear mold, not the actual technology and the footy thing that helps keep the aid in the ear broke off. It works fine, except for a little difficulty extricating it from my ear, and the broken-off end scratches it a bit. I finally figured out what happened but the details are too embarrassing and complicated to explain. All I know is that when my audiologist reads this and sees the picture, she’s going to be disappointed in me. Or maybe she’ll laugh. (If anyone has any advice on repairing this so I can avoid seeing her face when I slink back into her office, I would greatly appreciate it.)

Any time hearing aid and cochlear implant users gather together, they share horrifying stories of disasters and near-misses.

One friend went snorkeling with his new hearing aids and one of them floated away to become fish food.

Many sound processors and hearing aids have been tragically drowned in the shower. (Didn’t they notice that the water sounded louder than normal?)

A rascally dog ate my hearing aid and had the nerve to smile at me with bits of my hearing aid hanging from the doggy hairs around his mouth.

I’ve learned that jumping up and down on a windy beach may cause my Kanso processor to fly off. (Who tells you this stuff?)

My minister’s mother baked hers in an apple pie for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Perfect pie, dead hearing aid.

Accidents happen. But sometimes, especially after wearing them for a long time, we can get a little careless and that’s when the lightning strikes.

To keep your technology safe, anytime it’s not in your ear or on your head, put it in its cradle. I use the night time drying-aid as a receptacle during the day if I take my technology out for any reason. Well, I do most of the time. Even though they feel like air when you’re wearing them, always remember to keep your aids and processors safe.

Show your hearing technology the love – otherwise it will cause you a lot of grief and a lot of money.

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a sought-after speaker for her humorous and insightful performances about hearing loss. Unheard Voices and EarRage! are ground-breaking solo shows that illuminate the profound impact of hearing loss on a person’s life and relationships, and which Gael has presented to appreciative audiences around Canada, the United States and New Zealand. A DVD/video version of Unheard Voices is now available. She has received awards for her work, including the Consumer Advocacy Award from the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Gael lives with her husband and son in Toronto.

4 Comments

  1. Left my Phonaks in my shirt pocket, washed them with the other clothes in the hot water washing machine, then stuffed the shirt and the hearing aids in the dryer, on high heat for about an hour, found them two weeks later. Took them to my Audiologist, Kim Dotson, and demanded a new under-warranty new pair; she said ” no way, those are Phonaks”! Kim put new batteries in them, clenched them in her fist, and triumphantly gleamed at me when they “whistled”. Still wearing them ten years later. Ha!

  2. Great story Gael. I now too have an implant and am a happy camper, but back in the days when I wore hearing aids, our dog Daisy got a hold of my hearing aids now only one, but twice. Once I found it on the lawn and the other time it was crewed. My audiologist gave me heck for being careless but also laughed about it. Love your stories.

  3. “Well, I do most of the time.” – I assume you mean you take your hearing aids out during the day for most of the day. Why?

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