Now Hear This

While out doing my shopping the other day, I found myself walking behind a young mum who was happily pushing her child along in a buggy. Nothing unusual in this or so I thought until I spotted that the mother was wearing bilateral hearing aids. She had a skin-toned hearing aid mounted behind each ear and they looked like the sort of thing that my granny would have worn. The poor girl , I thought.  It’s bad enough having to cope with a disability such as hearing loss but surely she shouldn’t have to put up with these very uncool-looking devices just to be able to hear.  Why can’t hearing aids look sexy?

As I walked back to my car I couldn’t stop thinking about this injustice.  In this day and age of technology where every second young person is wearing an earphone attached to a mobile phone, iPod or whatever, it seems incongruous that hearing-impaired people should be expected to disguise their hearing loss. Since the ban was introduced to stop the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving, a huge range of fancy ear pieces have appeared to facilitate drivers who want to talk and drive.  I fail to see why hearing aids can’t be made to look like the multitude of earphones now on the market.  I guess like everything else, it all comes down to money and the skin-toned version above, is probably the best the HSE is prepared to fund on a medical card.

I did a little research and came up with the same old design but at least I found it in some more interesting shades.

Have you ever seen anyone wearing a funky looking hearing aid?  I know I haven’t.  Instead of blending in a hearing aid with the skin, why not make a statement with them? Wheelchair users get to have fun with colours so why can’t hearing aid users have fun too?

Then I looked a little harder and I came up with these from a US manufacturer.

These ones are glitzy enough to resemble jewellery.  I’m sure they’re very pricey but they’re fun and this new generation of hearing aids can be used as wireless receivers for cell phones as well as computers, iPods and TVs. It’s great to find that for some people at least, hearing devices can become an item of self-expression. Some manufacturers have even renamed them PCAs or Personal Communication Assistants.

I’d be very interested to hear other people’s views on this issue. Surely I’m not the only one who thinks that the hearing aids supplied by our health service, are seriously uncool?

13 Responses to Now Hear This

  1. Dr.JaneDoe says:

    Hi Steph!
    thanks for putting up that red ribbon in support of Dr. Scot Jnr! The more it gets out there, the better!

  2. Baino says:

    Steph, I don’t ‘see’ hearing aids much which suggests that perhaps ours are tiny and inconspicuous. I live very close to the North Rocks School for the Deaf and Blind so there are probably more hearing impaired people around here than in the wider population. Plus we’re the home of the Cochlear implant so I do see particularly children with these. My father in law wears two hearing aids but they’re still the old fashioned whistley kind I guess he’s not fussed about fashion, I’d love to buy him a couple of funky ones but seeing as it took us about 10 years to convince him he was deaf it might be a bit of a challenge to get him to wear something too obvious! Not quite ready for GT stripes! I suspect that the ‘free’ national health jobs are the clunky types. If you can pay, you can get something more subtle! The top shot is great, they look like blue tooth phone ear pieces!

  3. Steph says:

    Cheers! Jane

    I haven’t had a chance to write a post about Dr Scot Jnr’s suspension so instead I’ll leave links here to yours and Doc Thunder’s excellent posts on the subject, for anyone who wants to know about it.

  4. Grannymar says:

    For years we had a similar problem with glasses. Now they are a high fashion statement.

    A few of the young celebs sporting these funky hearing aids would certainly help!

  5. Steph says:

    Thanks Baino

    I have no reason to be interested in hearing aids but when I saw the young mother wearing those old-fashioned yokes, I was incensed on behalf of all young people who are forced to wear these things.

    My F-I-L also wore a whistling hearing aid and he hated it and the nagging he got so much, I swear he used to wear it ‘turned off’ like cartoon above 😀

  6. Steph says:

    Hi! Grannymar

    You slipped in their quietly when I was busy.

    Good point! If the manufacturers could do to ear wear what they’ve done for eye wear, it would be fantastic. As you say, glasses are now a fashion statement, why can’t hearing aids be more fun too?

  7. Bendy Girl says:

    Hi Steph, it’s the same with all NHS/Social Services supplied equipment. It’s like they manage to procure the most hideously disgusting designs and always for more expense than any trendy versions available commercially. I’d really like to know how!
    BG x

  8. Steph says:

    Hi! Bendy

    Don’t know about you but thankfully my hearing is excellent and I think it’s one of the few bits of me that EDS hasn’t affected.

    NOTHING escapes my hearing as my offspring will testify! 😀

  9. Laura says:

    Hi Steph,

    Enjoy the holiday. I have hearing aids do to hearing loss caused by Leukemia as a child I totally agree with you they are a not great looking. I may look into some new ones soon. Thanks for giving me the push in the right direction

  10. Steph says:

    Cheers! Laura

    Sorry to hear you’ve had hearing loss thrown at you as well. No better person to show the world how to have fun with funky hearing aids!

    I go away for a wee holiday and come back to find that you’ve been ‘up to tricks’ in my absence. How I wish that I could put the sunshine back into your life!

  11. anna-maria says:

    I don’t even know if anyone will see this as the post is so old but I’m going to reply anyways. I was just diagnosed with hearing loss in my right ear and have been told it’s likely irreversible and that I will likely need an aid. I am having troubles absorbing this. I am a 27 year old mom of 2 and married for 8 years and am a nurse. I feel I’ve been hit by a train even though I suspected, but finally just had it confirmed. I have Google the heck out of aids and have barely scratched the surface and I came along these vibes. Which I would consider, but I can’t seem to find them for sale anywhere and finally found the device is discontinued. WHY? I don’t really want to even consider something different as this is decoration, and looK’s nice. My self esteem is about to plumet.

    • Steph says:

      Hi anna-maria

      I’m still around, just about!

      I’m sorry to hear of your hearing loss and I’ve no doubt it’s been a shock to you, to have it confirmed.

      However… it’s not the end of the world… even though right now, it feels like that to you. There’s no need for your self-esteem to plummet. Consider yourself lucky it’s only your hearing that’s affected. There are lots of people who’s lives are turned upside down by major disability, yet they’re just happy to be alive!

      Would you consider getting a second opinion on your hearing loss? You should also talk to someone who’s qualified to explain the different types of hearing aids available.

      One step at a time. Good luck!


  12. Frieda Harden says:

    I was just diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Have just ordered amplification devices in a pistachio green color! Thinking about exploring ways to decorate them to make a “louder” statement, hahaha. Colored design tape comes in many widths – could use that. Just have to be sure not to cover up the seam at which they come apart for repairs, if needed. I will be keeping an ear out for these beautiful designs to become easily available. They are the best thing ever to happen for boosting your hearing!

    Thanks for this thread, Frieda

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