I lose things. It’s a problem. Since I wrote this original article almost 10 years ago, new hearing aids and a cochlear implant have gone by, and it’s time to revisit the subject.
Like I said, I lose things. Earrings and gloves are favorite things to lose – not the set, which would be better, but one of each. As a result, I have a drawer full of single earrings and a collection of single gloves. I don’t want to throw them out just in case the partner item turns up. Reading glasses and car keys are also high on the likely-to-lose list.
My mother would have said I lose things because I’m disorganized, but anyone would seem sloppy compared to my uber-organized mom. And my husband might point to my desk half-covered with papers as the reason why I ‘misplace’ things.
Well, hardy har har to them! The prime reason for being such a big loser is my hearing loss.
I don’t misplace these items – I drop them, unknowingly, unheard. When a lightweight item like an earring or a mitten drops, how can I possibly hear it? If I don’t see something falling to the ground, chances are I won’t hear it make impact, either.
And in noisy places such as restaurants, I could probably drop a 500-page book, my purse, or even the baby without the sound registering in my brain. Oh, I might hear something, but if the brain is busy trying to sort out a cacophony of noise signals, it might not interpret the thud of a wee human as an urgent-need-to-know sound.
I appreciate that hearing people also lose things, but I truly believe this loser problem is more serious and frustrating for my people, the HoHs.
I usually don’t lose things when I’m standing on glass or metal surfaces, which is not often. Items hitting reverberating materials can sound like cymbals clashing in my cochlear implant. There’s almost no way I couldn’t hear it. (To better appreciate the spine-jarring noise of metal, ask any new hearing aid wearer what it’s like to eat dinner with family members who selfishly slam around their knives, forks and spoons.)
Most of my lost stuff falls on sound-absorbing surfaces: reading glasses on carpeting, an earring on old pine flooring, sunglasses in the grass, mittens in the snow, and leather driving gloves on the pavement beneath the car door.
Receiving a cochlear implant dramatically increased my perception of high frequency noises. But even this phenomenal increase in hearing doesn’t always help. For example, the time I was getting dinner ready, and my reading glasses suddenly slipped sideways on my nose. Due to a faulty pin, an arm of the glasses had fallen to the ground, soundlessly. Would a hearing person have heard the teeny-weeny sound of an itsy-bitsy eyeglass pin? No, I didn’t think so.
But understanding the connection between losing things and hearing loss means having to do something to stem the tide of my losses.
- Keep clothes pockets well-stitched; small things find their way through small holes, and I don’t hear them going south to the floor. (Not gonna happen, I don’t sew. Perhaps wear pocketless clothes.)
- After getting out of the car, look down and check the ground before moving away. (Yes, I can do this.)
- A falling glove is only around 30 dB at point of impact; I know this because years ago my son and I did a scientific experiment and measured it. I’m 5’4″ on a good day, so by the time the sound reaches my ears, it’s negligible, impossible to hear – at least by any hearing device I own. I could sew heavy metal bits onto the fingertips of my leather gloves. (See sewing note above—and my arms would hang down to my knees!)
- Earrings are lightweight and adept at working themselves out of my ears. It’s as though they are magnetically repelled by my hearing devices. Besides securing them with those little plastic safety guards, my best bet is to buy cheap earrings.
- I could wear my reading glasses on a chain, but I don’t.
- When people can’t find their cars, a key button can set off the car lights or horn. But I’m not good at localizing sound and besides, I’ve never lost my car – it’s the keys I couldn’t hear hitting the ground. But my implant has helped with that. But hey, how about a button on the car that that set off signal flares from my keys?
Sigh. I’m a better hearing loser than I used to be, but I welcome suggestions from other losers with hearing loss, or hearing healthcare professionals. Or anybody, even.