1. Getting feedback when hugging someone or lying down.
Feedback occurs when amplified sound from your hearing aid leaks out of your ear canal, and is then detected by the microphone(s) of the hearing aid and “re-amplified”. It usually sounds like a constant high-pitched “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAKKKK.” There is no experience quite like your friends panicking in terror when they hug you because they think they broke your hearing aid. Today’s hearing technology eliminates this pest, but the childhood trauma resurfaces with every hug.
2. The horror of dead hearing aid batteries and not having any on you.
It always happens RIGHT before you have an important social function. I once found myself in this situation on a first date. I could have run home and grabbed some, but I was already running late and didn’t want to make a bad impression. I soon made an even worse impression by coming off as rude, when in fact I just couldn’t hear what he was saying! (We had a second date, everything turned out fine.)
3. The utter peace of sleep.
It is usually best to take hearing aids out at night, so sleeping is the best thing in the world. Literally nothing wakes you up. Thunderstorm in the night? What thunderstorm? Neighbors have a rock band? No problem. Just make sure the bed shaking alarm clock is on.
4. The terrible fear of swimming pools.
Don’tpushmeindon’tpushmeindon’tpushmein. Wait til I take my hearing aids off!!
5. Asking “what?” a million times.
This carries much more weight for those with hearing loss than it does for those without. Yes, it is awkward, but we are at our most vulnerable here. I experienced this inelegance for years. Each time we say “what?”, our confidence gets chipped away a bit. Bear with us. We really do want to know what you are saying. Know that your reaction can shape the social life of someone with hearing loss, no matter how old or young they are. Whether you struggle with the loudest of sounds or hear like a wolf, nobody wants to feel isolated and left out of the action.
So in honor of Audiology Awareness month, give a loved one with hearing loss a hug. And don’t panic if their hearing aids squeak from excitement (though gently encourage them to consider an upgrade). 🙂