Hearing Aids

Driving a meeting the other night, one hearing aid beeped at me which means the battery needs changing.  By the time I got there, it was dead and of course several things needed my attention before I could change the battery out.  Luckily, it was a HLA (Hearing Loss Association) meeting at the Sanderson Center so I could breeze through my first ten minutes of getting it together.

Then I sat down and changed out the battery.  Nothing, no noise.  Sometimes I get a bum battery so I took another battery out.  Still nothing.  Oh no! Was the whole package dead?  I tried another battery, nothing.  I tried another brand of batteries in my purse and still nothing.  Here I am supposed to be running two meetings back to back and no hearing aids?  My other hearing aid was working so I took the battery out of it and put in the other one.  Still nothing.  I tried 4 batteries by now and knew it couldn’t be a battery problem which bummed me out.  I wasted 4 new batteries playing around. Once the sticky paper is off the battery out of the package it drains of power (so I’m told).

At least I had one working hearing aid.  I put a battery back in that hearing aid…  nothing!  Big time oh no!  I went through each of the batteries and no noise coming from that hearing aid either. Was I putting the battery in backwards? I tried them both ways and still nothing.  I gave up and put both hearing aids away with a heavy heart.  At least I was at the Sanderson Center and CART (captioning of our meetings) was provided.

My group of people watched me as I went through my little drama with the batteries.  I shrugged my shoulders and let them know I was hearing aid-less.  I had brought some snacks for both meetings so none of us would be hungry.  I informed them, “No hearing aids needs a bowl of chocolate.”  They laughed as I went to the back and poured me a small bowl of dark chocolate M&M’s.  I sat down ready to run the meeting and they looked surprised about my bowl and me.  “What didn’t believe me, did you?”

I ran both meetings.  The first CART provider is still learning and her captioning can be horrendous.  It’s not just misspelled words, it was a whole string of garbled sentences.  She is a very nice person but she should not be offering her services yet.  We pulled tables close together for this meeting, there was only 5 of us.  I was able to lip read for most it. I felt bad for another lady there who had sudden hearing loss about 3 years ago and isn’t good at lip reading yet.  She was a trooper and struggled along with what she could hear and the terrible captions.

The second lady in is our regular person and she does great.  There were several times when I leaned back from the table and read the captions to keep up.  This meeting was bigger and we had about 12 people there.  The tables were back at their normal position, a wide semi-circle and it was harder to follow.  I’m so thankful for CART and the Sanderson Center.

The next day I puzzled over my hearing aid issue with my boyfriend on our way to lunch. I pulled my aids out and looked them over carefully for broken tubes or a cracked ear piece. It was just plain weird how both of them went out.  I tried putting them in again. Both hearing aids came but didn’t stay on.  Maybe I needed to take them in?  The thought of no hearing aids while I go south to visit my family next week was scary.

My boyfriend asked me if I was out in the rain with them. It has been raining good the last 3 days.  No, I told him but as I thought about it I have walked from car to buildings several times with my hearing aids in.  Still I either had a hat or my hair is thick enough to cover the aids.  I rushed to each building mindful of my hearing aids.  They couldn’t have gotten wet…. but it has been really wet… humidity?

After lunch when back home, I found a sour cream container I kept putting in lots of those little de-humidifier packets that come with certain products.  I put my hearing aids in there for an hour which was all I had before another meeting to attend.  This meeting was among hearing people with no CART provided so I was worried.

I brought my silly sour cream container with me in the car letting my hearing aids stay in dryness as long as possible.  When I parked at the library, I anxiously pulled them out, turned them on and put them in my ears. I said a little prayer and held my breath.  They did their happy beeping noise to let me know they fired up.  I relaxed a little but waited to see if they would stay on.  They did!  It was only humidity!  I walked into my meeting a little more confident.

Only I should have brought my FM system and I forgot that in all my worry over the hearing aids.  Thank goodness the meeting was held in closed auditorium, sound proof from the rest of the library, carpeted, low ceiling, padded chairs distributed, all of which helps to reduce other noises bouncing around.  The doors were shut once the meeting started.

I soon as I saw the chairs being aligned in rows I knew it would be a lecture meeting. I inwardly groaned and made sure everyone knew I couldn’t hear well.  I also sat in the front row.  The speaker was fun but had a thick accent of some kind. It took all my concentration and focus to keep up with her.  The minute my mind wandered, I lost everything she said. I missed words here and there, especially as those of us in the audience asked questions or talked.  I would whip around in my chair to face them then had to turn back around to face her.  All in all I did well because of the acoustics of the room, sitting up front and focusing.  My brain hurt at the end of it so I didn’t stay to socialize.  Next time maybe.

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