Everyday Situations Hearing Aid And Cochlear Implant Wearers Hate

By Laura Lowles on 13th October 2017

Whilst no one can deny that hearing aids and cochlear implants are incredible scientific advances in the fight against hearing loss, there are many occasions where they can be bothersome and downright irritating.

To those people who are lucky enough not to suffer from any form of hearing loss, the situations outlined here may come as a surprise.

Below are a few of the everyday situations or challenges I have faced as a former hearing aid wearer and current cochlear implant user.

Going to the Hairdresser;

What woman (or man for that matter) doesn’t enjoy getting their hair done? Me, that’s who. And I’m sure many other hearing-impaired individuals would agree with me on this.

Why I hear you cry? Because to get my hair done that involves washing and drying my hair. So? Well, I can’t wear my CI whilst my hair is being shampooed or blow dried and that renders me completely deaf.

Notoriously, hairdressers are a chatty bunch by nature; this fills me with dread because I cannot partake in amiable banter about where my next holiday is going to be or in idle gossip about what the next-door neighbour is getting up to with the milkman. I can’t even hear my hairdresser asking me about what I want to be done to my hair which could lead to some disastrous results – luckily, I have a hairdresser who I have known for probably 15 years or more and she knows my situation but it still fills me with trepidation every time I book an appointment!

Swimming;

I have always been known to be a water baby, maybe because I’m an Aquarius… On holiday I can normally be found in the pool, cocktail in hand, soaking up the sunshine, and whilst I adore a good swim I do get a bit nervous as again, my CI cannot be worn. I know there are waterproof covers you can get for specific models but I don’t have one nor would I completely trust one if I’m perfectly honest, just the thought of it malfunctioning is enough to send a cold shiver down my spine!

Getting caught in the rain;

I’m one of those annoying people who NEVER check the weather forecast before I leave the house and who ALWAYS forgets her umbrella when it does rain, so sod’s law is that I’m going to get caught in a rainstorm at one point or another.

Not only am I going to get soaked, I’m going to get soaked whilst completely deafened. Normally this happens to me on my way home, and usually when I have my glasses on making it more of a hazard as my glasses get all steamy and wet making it hard to see in front of me. Not being able to see OR hear oncoming traffic is rather dangerous. On a side note- Specsavers really need to bring in glasses with built-in wipers!!

Going to the Doctors;

Going to the doctors is never on anyone’s list of favourite things to do but I REALLY dislike it. My gripe with it is that in a waiting room full of patients, young and old coughing, sneezing and generally being ill makes it incredibly difficult for me to hear my name being called. Especially if the only seat available is at the back of the room!

The nurses and GPs I have come across in my local GP surgery generally only say the patients’ name once and then move one with the next name – excuse me, I can’t hear you!! My medical records clearly state that I am deaf but generally they don’t see this memo until they are sat at the desk with my files open after I’ve strained every muscle in my body trying to listen for ‘Laura Lowles please’.

A funny story; I actually went into another Laura’s appointment whilst at the audiologist because I didn’t hear the surname. I didn’t realise at the time but noticed a teenage girl and her mother looking at me very oddly when I walked into her appointment. I only found out the error when I got a letter from the hospital to tell me I didn’t attend my appointment – oops!

Hospital Scans/Operations etc

On a similar note, when I had my surgery for the Cochlear Implant I had to take out my hearing aids (obviously) and the nurses kept asking me questions I couldn’t hear – it really panicked me, especially as I was about to be anesthetized!  

Going to the gym;

I’m not going to lie, I hate the gym and I avoid it at all costs but this applies to all forms of exercise really.

What do you do when you exercise? Sweat (or glow but come on, that’s a blatant lie!). Sweat is extremely bad for hearing aids and cochlear implants and can cause them to malfunction quite severely. This isn’t ideal if you are in a group exercise class, in a downward dog pose and cannot hear the instructor telling you to move into the tree or boat or whatever yoga poses are called!

For those who like to run, music can be a motivational tool to help keep your pace and make the experience more enjoyable, having to take your hearing aid or CI out means you cannot listen to music and face a run in deafening silence, not such an appealing thought.

Going on holiday to exotic places;

I LOVE to travel and I’m lucky enough to have been to some incredible places in my life but on one of my South East Asian adventures in Vietnam I had a little incident with my CI that sent me into a panic – basically it was 40 degrees outside and I was wearing one of those traditional Vietnamese hats whilst at the market which was doing a lovely job of keeping the sweat on my head rolling down my face and into my ears and you guessed it, my processor. I heard a buzzing noise and then the processor went dead! I cried.

Luckily it was solved by a quick blast in the dry box and I went on to enjoy the rest of my holiday but it proves the importance of using the dry box for your CI daily, sometimes even several times a day whilst in hot climes!

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