Home is Where the Hearing Aids Aren’t

Okay, so maybe this title isn’t necessarily true. I was trying to be cute, okay? Besides, there is a morsel of truth in this statement, a morsel which I am going to talk about today.

As a hearing impaired person, one of my biggest insecurities is being around people when my hearing aid or cochlear implant isn’t on. I don’t think this is too hard to understand: there is a certain vulnerability about being around people (sometimes even people you know and love) without one of your most important senses. Some analogies I can think of include wearing a blindfold when there are others in the room or being physically tied up when there are others in the room. It just isn’t the most comfortable situation.

As a result, for me, having a good roommate is of utmost importance. My roommate must be someone that I know and trust. Someone that understands my situation and is accustomed to it. Luckily for me, my current roommate, Cristina, fits this criteria (she is also fantastic so that helps a lo)t. Not only is she incredibly bright, caring, and sweet, she was also one of my closest friends in middle school. We lost touch in high school, but when USC randomly assigned us to the same room freshman year, it was like no time passed at all. I quickly became comfortable with her, trusting her to alert me of things I may miss when my hearing aids are out — important things, like fire alarms or intruders, or anything I haven’t thought of but could catch me off guard, particularly without my hearing aids. We have an understanding that she can wake me up or pull me out of the shower (the two times I don’t wear my hearing devices are when I’m asleep or showering) if there is ever a cause to do so.

Even though I have an amazing roommate, it is of utmost importance that a hearing impaired person, like myself, be able to function in case of emergency when roommates aren’t around. In my one and almost a half years in college, the primary housing related issue for me has been FIRE ALARMS. Now, if you have a fantastic memory, you may recall that I said I can hear loud noises when my hearing devices are out, like sirens or alarms. Allow me to clarify: I can hear these noises, but they aren’t very loud. They are more like a whispers or hints of sound in my ear. If I am sound asleep, which let’s be honest, most fire alarms go off the minute you enter a REM cycle, the sound given off by a regular alarm will not be enough to wake me. This is where those annoying flashing fire alarms come in.

These  flashing fire alarms are not uncommon, yet, I have had to essentially grovel to ensure that I was assigned to, or could have such an alarm installed, in my room. That way, while the sound certainly won’t wake me, that bright, burning, flashing light will. Now, and rather unfortunately if you ask me, there is no chance that I will not wake up in case of a fire, or more likely, a false alarm, at 4 a.m. in the morning. Cool.

In my personal experience, all it takes for me to feel comfortable living in an apartment with friends like a real, live, actual mostly functioning, semi adult-ish human being is an accommodating and fantastic roommate and a properly functioning alarm system, my plan A and B, respectively. With these two things in place, I feel comfortable taking out my hearing devices at home. But let’s be honest. Why take out your hearing devices when you can blast your music? Home is where the dance parties are.

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6 thoughts on “Home is Where the Hearing Aids Aren’t

  1. I have a bed shaker for my fire alarm… It really helps! No annoying flashing things! Haha.

    But yes… Totally hate having the hearing aid or implant die halfway through my day at work or something and discovering that you forgot to put new batteries in your purse… Oi. It gets a bit nerve wracking after that point.

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    • HI Anna! I used to have a fire alarm bad shaker but for some reason, it would respond to ALL loud noises, so every time we turned the vacuum cleaner on my bed would start shaking and the alarm would start blaring. It also didn’t help that I did not know how to turn it off. Oops.

      And yes, it is very off-putting to have my hearing aid die in the middle of the day. Nothing quite makes my stomach drop like hearing those dreaded beeps signaling the battery is about to die. I always try to have an extra pack on me! For my cochlear I use the rechargeable kind, so I don’t tend to have issues with that, but if my cochlear battery died I would definitely be lost!

      Thanks for visiting my blog! 🙂 I hope to see you back here again!

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      • I also have my moments where I forgot to recharge my implant’s battery… I’m forgetful. Thank goodness for my lip reading skills to save my butt for days like that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my goodness yes that happens to me too. Sometimes I forget to detach my battery from my cochlear, or I think the battery is recharging when it isn’t. Those lip reading skills are the best! But the cochlear has made me so comfortable not needing to lipread that I forget I need to make sure I can see the person talking so I can lipread! The struggle.

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      • Ah I’m not that confident yet with my implant! But it is helping me in my jobs working with foreign accents now at least where I’m able to like halfway figure out what they’re saying. It’s only been 4.5 years since I got it though! Confidence goes up as the years go on. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely! Oh my gosh, don’t even get me started on foreign accents (I think you just inspired another blog post in the future). I got my implant four years ago! The confidence definitely goes up as the years go on. I have also changed a lot as a person. I discussed this change (in relation to the movie-going experience as a deaf/hard of hearing girl) in my latest blog! Check it out! 🙂

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