You have finally realised that you have hearing loss and accepted your hearing problems. You have decided to take an appointment with your Audiologist and have started wearing hearing aids as recommended by him or her. You have also developed an excellent habit of taking care of them like cleaning them and keeping them in a safe case as advised, whenever you are not using them - such as at night or while you are having a shower.
Congratulations you are on the right track! You are following the care and maintenance rules for your hearing aids regularly and perfectly. But life isn’t always the way you want. What if you happen to drop your ear machine accidentally? What if you forget taking them off at the time of bathing? Or what if you realised that you left your hearing aids at home when you needed them really badly?
Anything can happen! No matter how careful you might be, you are sure to drop your hearing aids at least once in your lifetime. Panicking won’t be the solution. You need to know some tips to handle situations like these.
You drop your hearing aids in water, such as the bathroom?
Sadly, this happens to a lot of people, especially those who have the habit of taking them off in the bathroom. If you accidentally drop your hearing aids in the bathroom and if the toilet or the sink is clean enough, stop all sources of running water. Grab it as fast as you can. If you can’t do it, quickly call someone and ask the person to help you retrieve it, especially someone who is handy with a pipe wrench.
After you have retrieved your device successfully, immediately remove the batteries and leave open the battery compartment for the internal parts of the device to dry.
Don’t worry about the device getting damaged, as nowadays most of the modern hearing devices have a protective nano-coating which can be disinfected by a simple alcohol wash. However, if you drop your ear machine in the unflushed toilet and end up ruining it, then consider it as a biohazard and you should not use it further.
How to avoid this?
Before you enter the bathroom, find a place in your bedroom, preferably the centre of your bed, sit down and take off your hearing aids and keep them on a soft and dry surface. Using a soft towel will be a good idea to take your hearing aids off as it will act as a cushion the blow and reduce the bouncing in case you drop them off. Make sure to carefully put them back in the hard protective case provided with your product. However, if the bathroom is the only option for you to take your hearing device off, then close off all the taps and other sources of running water and clog the sink with a tissue or handkerchief. Always remove your hearing aids on a dry surface, and if possible do it on a soft cloth or a tissue.
You wear your ear machine in the shower or the pool?
Yes, we understand that today’s digital hearing aids are so comfortable that you often forget that you are wearing them! Naturally, you forget to take them off before going for the shower or jumping into the pool. You may have developed the habit of removing your device if you have a fixed schedule for bathing or swimming. However, this habit might break sometimes, especially if you are out on your vacation.
So here’s what you should do if you accidentally get your hearing aids wet. Immediately remove them from your ears, dry them with a soft and dry towel and as mentioned above, remove the batteries and keep the battery doors open for an hour or so, and if possible, overnight. Use a hearing aid dryer (if you are carrying one), to dry the internal parts of the device. Never ever use a hair dryer, an oven or the microwave to dry your hearing device, as they would destroy your precious hearing aids. If in the morning, however, you find that your device is not working, contact your Audiologist immediately.
How to avoid this?
Make it a habit to feel for your hearing aids with both of your hands before entering the pool or going for a shower. You can also remind yourself by setting alarms or posting notes by the shower or attach one with clips to your swimsuit or towel. Having a hearing aid case handy is also a good idea.
You accidentally drop your hearing aids outside?
The moment you realise that your hearing aids are gone, pause right there with whatever you are doing! Don’t panic or start searching for it in a rush. Keep calm. Ask everyone who is with you to stand still without moving anywhere. Feel your body right from your head to your feet to search for it and to check whether the device is attached to any of your garments. Try to recall what may have caused it to go off your ears. Did you wear a scarf, a cap or other such head garments? Or did anything get brushed against your ears? When did you last pull it off and where was the place? From when did you start having a muffled hearing?
Simply relax and start retracing your steps. Most probably you will find your device.
How to avoid this?
If you wear caps, scarfs, earmuffs or other garments in and around your head and neck region, do take great care while taking off the garment, especially if you are wearing a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, so as to avoid your device coming off along with it. Hearing aids are really necessary when you are outside your house, not only for entertainment purpose but for your safety as well. Check from time to time whether your hearing devices are right in the place they are meant to be. Also, nowadays specially-designed earmolds or ear-grips are available which are designed to keep your ear machine in their proper place, without getting displaced. Consult your Audiologist and ask for one. They are really helpful and would help you stay relaxed when you are on an outing! Just chill out and have fun!
You left your device at home when you really needed it?
Everyone is always on the rush and most hearing aid users are sure to miss out their hearing aids some day or the other. Again don’t panic if this happens to you! Yes, of course, it is the most common hearing aid disaster among all others. If you can, immediately return to your home, because hearing is very important for just anything you do! Try to retrieve them. If you have the habit of keeping them at a safe place, well and good! If not, do take the help of someone to find it for you.
How to avoid this?
Wearing hearing aids is a must for your general health, your communication ability as well as to keep our brain active and stimulated all the time. Your hearing loss is not intermittent, so your hearing aid wearing schedule shouldn’t be intermittent as well. You need them every time (except of course in the shower or the pool and while you are asleep)!
The best way to avoid wearing your ear machine when you are going out is to set up a routine as prescribed by your Audiologist and make it a habit to wear it accordingly.
You can also make it a habit to put your hearing aids (stored in the protective case) in your bag which you take with you daily while going out.
Another way is to post notes beside the door on the inside to remind you of wearing your hearing device before you leave your house. You can also tell someone at your home to remind you before you step outside.
Your hearing aid is eaten!
Yes, it can be true, however strange it might seem! Do you have pets in your house? Or small children? Pets or small children are often curious to explore new things with their mouth. Forget pets or children! You will be surprised to know that even adults have swallowed hearing aids by mistaking them for food, especially if they have kept them near some nuts or candies. Because the digital hearing aids of today are so tiny and colourful that often can confuse you with some yummy tidbits!
Anyway, what’s done cannot be undone! What you can do is to check whether your pet or your kid has swallowed the device. If not, then try to retrieve it from its mouth and check for any broken parts or batteries. Swallowing batteries is really dangerous! If the device is already been ingested, rush your pet or your child to the doctor (a veterinarian in case of a pet) immediately, as first of all, it is toxic to health!
After you have ensured the safety of your pet or your kid, claim for the hearing aid. If you find that all the parts are intact along with the battery, clean it with an alcohol wipe and check its performance. If it fails to work or if you find that your device is broken, contact your Audiologist. Be sure to take with you each and every part that you retrieved from your damaged hearing aid.
How to avoid this?
The very important thing that you should do is to keep your hearing aids out of reach of pets and small children. Always keep it at a level much higher from the ground. Also, make it a point to store them in the hard protective case provided with the device to avoid losing or falling the device from heights.
You can also make small enclosures or home for your pets so that they don’t loiter around the house and mess up with things. Also, do engage some time in training your pet.
Anything can happen anytime. Of course, it’s good to know about these tips, but the most important thing that you must do is to ensure at the time of purchase that you are getting a good warranty period and ask your dealer whether that would cover repairing or replacing facilities.
Which do you think is the most common hearing aid disaster?
Which of the above have you faced in your day-to-day lives?
Are you aware of any other hearing aid disaster which the hearing aid wearers must be careful about?
Kindly tell us in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!