Wear ’em with pride!

Purple Oticon Safari Hearing Aid

Showin’ my ears!

Did you know that over half of the people who need hearing aids don’t wear them?  There are several factors that contribute to that – the expense, having hearing aids that aren’t adjusted correctly, uncomfortable ear molds issues, denial about hearing loss, etc.   But one of the common reasons why people don’t wear their hearing aids is that they feel embarrassed and self conscious about them.

There is still a lot of stigma attached to hearing loss and wearing hearing aids. Think about it – how many ads for hearing aids have you seen that point out how the hearing aid is so small no one has to know you’re wearing it?  Why does it matter if anyone can see it?  The message is that hearing loss is something to hide, something to be ashamed of.  You don’t want to wear your hearing loss for all the world to see – people will treat you differently.

That’s certainly how I felt when I got my first set of hearing aids. I felt self-conscious about them. I was still trying so hard to deny that I had hearing loss at all that wearing these big instruments felt like a big neon sign – something is different about me. Something is wrong.

It didn’t help that the hearing aids were not adjusted as well to my hearing loss as they should have been.  Usually, when you get a new set of hearing aids, you go through several fittings to get the settings adjusted to your hearing needs.  It’s a process.  It takes time, and patience, and time to learn to process the way the world sounds through the new instruments.  I didn’t know this.  I had my first fitting, and off I went… and certain sounds were painful. Others were distorted. And they felt like giant stigmas attached to my head.  So… I didn’t wear them, most of the time.  And when I did wear them, I tried to keep them inconspicuous. (Then they were eaten by a cat, but that’s a different story)

As I’ve slowly come to accept my deafness, and myself, I stopped feeling embarrassed about my hearing aids.  Really, they’re just high-tech versions of my glasses.  I am a whole, perfectly imperfect person, and now I celebrate my ears.

I was told that these are the last set of hearing aids I will be able to wear, so I decided to have fun with them.  When my audiologist told me I was getting Oticon Safari SP’s (Super Power), I pictured them in tiny red capes, doing good deeds.  I opted for bright purple, to feel like I’d added some of my personality to them.  I claimed them as part of myself.  And now, I wear them with pride.  They’re my SuperPower gadgets, and I’m the most awkward deaf ninja you’ll ever meet.

Do you wear your ears with pride?

Purple Oticon Safari 600 SP Hearing Aid

 

I have been inspired by LipReading Mom’s Show Me Your Ears campaign to share my hearing aids. What are you waiting for? Go show off your ears, too!

21 thoughts on “Wear ’em with pride!

  1. omegaflare

    How does being Deaf shows its pride?! It’s nothing but trail of destruction waiting for it to happen.

    I just act like a normal person just like everyone else. I don’t feel offended unless someone steps over the thick red line. Simple.

  2. Maurie

    Ah! Hearing Aids! I only have the one In my left ear as my right ear is completely deaf. Though I will soon loose all hearing in that ear as well. pretty much lost a good portion of it already! Thank you Endolymphatic Hydrops!

    I didn’t like wearing it at first mainly because I found it so uncomfortable. I found certain noises would cause pain in that ear too. I do wear it all the time now otherwise I’m completely deaf. I started out with analog which was great for amplifying everything then they changed to digital which wasn’t so great for me, I could hear even less with digital but thank god they resumed making analog again, I guess they realized that digital isn’t quite so good for people with profound hearing loss.

    I try to have Hearing Aid free days too. Had a whole month free of it when my dog ate it and my only back up was spare digital one I had until I could get a new analog one. Also at the end of the day its great to take it out, much like taking a pair of shoes off. I’m not ashamed of it and proudly point to it when I don’t like any conversation and say I’m Deaf! lol A little rude of me but hey!

    I don’t mind being Deaf! Sure I miss my hearing and would love to listen again to all my albums and would have my hearing back in heartbeat if I could. But it isn’t the end of the world. You get used to it when you loose it gradually.

    I can do without it if need be (Hearing Aid) as I can lip read but if you are a mumbler then… that’s a whole other story. Generally It’s the first thing I grab and put on or in my ear in the mornings. There have been quite a few times where I have left the house and been driving and thought something isn’t quite right here, I can’t hear any background noise then realized I have left it at home.

    I’d like to say thanks to those of you I made yell at the top your lungs in the beginning to communicate with me because I refused to wear the damn thing! 😀

    i find it is a great conversation starter with hearing folk! When they notice it, they ask “Are you Deaf”? Er no! I wear it because I think it looks cool! :)

    Do not fall asleep with them in, you wake up with an awful headache. 😀

    I have lost count of the number times I have gotten into the shower and turned the water on only to realize I have my Hearing Aid in. :)

    Thank you Indi for allowing me to write on your blog. I could go on but won’t. Sorry for my rambling on, this is about Hearing Aids and I love mine and wouldn’t be without it.

  3. Kay

    My husband and all of you guys are greatly admired by me. I have my own problems, but hearing is not one of them. I’d love to be able to communicate with both hearing impaired people and their hearing loved ones. I would like to be more supportive of my husband. Thanks!

  4. Damien

    When I got hearing aids as a child, I was initially embarrassed and always wanted my hair to cover them. But I grew out of it. The last hearing aid I bought I got in a nice, shiny-blue-and-black hi-tech look. Unfortunately, I’m not wearing it any more because I got a CI in my other ear and now the hearing aid, despite having sounded great prior to my surgery, now sounds like crap (due to having a much better ear a la bionic hearing in comparison). But I wear my CI with pride. I opted for a metallic sienna and black hi-tech look and I have no interest in hiding it. I’m deaf, and I have a bionic ear, and that’s that.

  5. Chey

    It’s funny how people with hearing losses can approach it differently. For me, there wasn’t any room for denial. My mom did all of that. I wanted accommodations (and hearing aids), she wanted me fixed. She wanted me to have surgery to repair my eardrum. It wasn’t until a doctor finally told her that the three previous surgeries were the reason my hearing loss was worse than when I first failed a hearing test, and that a fourth would make it worse, that she finally stopped and let me seek hearing aids actively. And I will be getting them sometime this school year :)

      1. justthehalfdeafgirl

        (Your blog inspired me to make my own, that’s why the name is different ^^)

        I saw the Show Me Your Ears campaign and have already promised that I will be submitting a picture when I get my hearing aids :) I’m sure I will like them. I’ve used a sound amplifier before, so I have a vague idea. And I know that a hearing aid will work better than a crappy 10 buck sound amplifier, so I am very excited! Haha

          1. justthehalfdeafgirl

            Thanks so much Indi! And thank you for following :) I’m happy you found my blog interesting. I was beginning to think I had no traffic, until I checked my email to see that I had followers!

  6. Claudette

    Denial is a powerful thing. I’ve been there and still am, occasionally. But with a recent infection I wasn’t allowed to wear the aid at all and forced to accept that I will be trampling around the world as a deaf person (instead of a hearing impaired person). Suddenly I ‘came out’ more. Why? I can’t answer that. I liked denial…to some degree.

  7. From The Vest Pocket

    I have a hearing aid, but I don’t use it because all is, it does is amplify the noise and doesn’t help with discretion between sounds. It really is a waste of money. However, I do understand sign language and I comes through crystal clear.

    1. Matthew

      Ditto. It is pointless for me to wear the hearing aids when it does not serve me well. Also, it is less annoying to wear them because I involve many sports. Sometimes, hearing person tease me by calling my name behind me to see if I hear them with the hearing aids. From that time on, I never wear them again.

      1. Indi

        Yes, this is another good point – with most hearing aids, there’s a lot of just NOISE. I find that it doesn’t help me to have them on in louder situations – a dinner party, events, out to eat, etc – because I just get overwhelmed with ALL THE NOISE and can’t actually hear voices. It becomes just this overwhelming wall of noise, and it’s hard to sort out what all the sounds are.

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