Are You a (Hearing Loss) Loser?

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.

 

 

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for HearingHealthMatters.org, which has an international following, Gael wrote the acclaimed book "The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss". She is regularly invited to present her uniquely humorous and insightful work to appreciative audiences around the world. Gael has received many awards for her work, which includes advocacy for a more inclusive society for people with hearing loss. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

5 Comments

  1. Of course…there were the times when the fridge door was left open for hours, because I did not hear the beeping …was not wearing my hearing aids… and then, the water left running (sometimes all night… I felt so guilty!

    BTW… to find lost objects, you candy a device that has a central, remote beeper, when an item goes missing. You just attach sensors to each object that you don’t want to lose and keep the controller in a safe space (that you can remember) LOL

  2. Omg!
    You just told my life story

    Yes, I’m a loser. Can’t hear when the battery falls on the floor.. one earring, my keys… the list is endless!

    But, how about leaving the water running , sometimes , fir 10 minutes, sometimes for an hour.. a few times.. OVERNIGHT!

    I get do frustrated with myself! It’s maddening.

    My cell phone! Thank Gd, I enabled the flash setting on it. When it rings, or if I get a text or email, the flash shines brightly.

    When you first wrote this article, we had no cell phones to lose! Lucky us, huh?

    I’ve created compensatory strategies fior myself.. sticky notes (but mostly, those just fade into the woodwork and I forget to look T them.

    I carry a small bag around my neck, eith the phone, the keys , lipstick and my license. I can’t leave the house without it, because then , I would not be able to lock the door!

    As usual, with humor and brilliant observational remarks, you made me feel so not alone!

    Thanks, Gael… you always get those subtle, but oh so significant details that impact our lives so greatly, if we are HOH people.

  3. Oh, how very familiar this reads! I’ve lost quite some things, including my keys! And glasses.
    I guess it is not just the HoH, but being tired and therefore sloppy.
    And if I don’t see it, I forget about it … until it is too late or lost.
    It is very uncomfortable and embarrassing sometimes, isn’t it?

  4. I’m a loser, too! Sometimes I lose my car! I TRY to pay attention and notice where I am parked in a large parking lot. But, sometimes I forget. So there I am, wandering around the parking lot, clicking my key and trying to find the quiet beep from my car. I have even resorted to asking a kind hearing person to help me locate the beep! Sigh! They should put a bright light on TOP of the car that will flash continually until I touch my car!! Wouldn’t that be nice?

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