So this is something that just a handful of people know, and now I guess all of you: a year ago I started wearing a hearing aid at age 25.
How did I end up here? Well you know how little kids sometimes get ear tubes? I got my first when I was in the fourth grade and received four or five before my last one at the end of my freshman year of college. You’re supposed to outgrow them, but I did not.
I’ve been going to the same ear, nose, and throat doctor since I was six, and I normally have yearly check-ups with him to make sure everything’s okay. I had my appointment last year in April and he had me do a hearing test—which is done in the office—and he reported back that my hearing was down, again. My options were another tube or a hearing aid to fix my moderate conductive hearing loss. I didn’t want to go through the surgery of having another tube put in but I also didn’t want to have a hearing aid at age 25. I was in denial for a while, about a month, before my parents made me make a decision.
So I opted for the hearing aid.
I started the process in May and it took over the summer into the fall before I finally received it. I picked it up around this time last year, and going into the appointment, I knew I would be leaving with it but for some reason, it was a really big adjustment for me. I was nervous that people would see it or make fun of me for having one.
The aid itself is really small and discreet, goes behind my right ear, and the wire from my ear to the aid is clear. It’s also brown, so it blends in with my hair. I got to choose the color from a handful of colors similar to hair, like brown, gold, silver, etc. I can also hide it under my hair when it’s down, so you can’t even tell I have it. (It’s in the featured image of this post.)
The first week or so was weird; I wasn’t used to having something in my ear all of the time and it was a bit uncomfortable. Now I hardly even feel it’s in my ear. I don’t know if other people have noticed it, but no one has said anything to me about it. But now I wouldn’t care if people found out. I think one thing that freaked me out is knowing that I’ll have it for the rest of my life. The pros outweigh the cons, though, because I can actually hear people now. I think I just needed to come around to it on my own.
A cool thing about the hearing aid is that it connects to my phone via Bluetooth. There’s an app to download and I can adjust the volume on the hearing aid or change the preset all from my phone. There are different volume presets, so like if I’m in a crowd or in a restaurant, I can change the setting so that the microphone picks up more of the voice of the person talking and less of the background noise. I can also take phone calls through it—so I hear the person speaking in my ear and I hold up my phone to talk into it—and also watch videos on my phone and hear the audio in my ear. Hey, if I have to have a hearing aid, I at least want it to be cool.
One thing that I’ve encountered with wearing masks is that they’re not the best for people with hearing aids. I’ve gotten the aid itself caught up in my mask strap so many times. I just have to be careful when taking off my mask so I don’t pull the wire out of my ear. Another thing is that I try not to hug people on my right side because if you get too close to the hearing aid, it’ll whistle—and give itself away.
A year later, I’m doing a lot better with accepting that this is something I’ll have for the rest of my life. And who knows, if my hearing aid now is as small as it is, in the future there could be better versions that are created that are even smaller or more high-tech. If you guys have any questions, let me know!