Do you take your hearing aids out to relax?

Copyright: rrraven / 123RF Stock Photo

Amazingly, it is a year since I started blogging.  The first post on More Than A Bit Deaf was on 22 February 2016.  I’m still enjoying it hugely.  And I’m learning.  The more I read about deafness (other people’s blogs, Facebook groups, things I look into to research the topic of a post) the more I realise that everyone experiences their hearing loss in a different way.  We have different stories to tell, different preferences and different ways of coping.

Some of these differences are big ones, like the “Deaf or deaf” differences talked about in last week’s post.  Some are more trivial.  For example, I’ve learnt that some people take their hearing aids out to relax.  They write about getting home after a busy day, or after some stressful deafness-related experience, and they whip their hearing aids off.  “Phew”, they write, “what a relief.  What bliss to sit there in the peace and quiet.”

I can’t conceive of doing that.  I might occasionally switch mine off to avoid a very loud sound (babies screaming on the train, our food processor grinding nuts….) but normally my hearing aids stay in from when I wake up in the morning until I put my head on the pillow at night.  Without them I feel disoriented.  I feel as if I’m not really me.

As I’ve written before, I consciously do things that don’t involve my ears when I’m having a bad day in the hearing department.  But I leave my hearing aids in.  I want to still hear cars passing and the dog barking (yep, even the dog barking makes me feel part of things).  The noise I hear through my hearing aids is not the sound hearing-people hear but I’m used to it and I rely on it.  Indeed, I LIKE that noise.

But we’re all different and maybe I’m the odd one out here, rather than everyone else.  For example, Nigel and I have recently been participating in a programme assessing how people with hearing loss and their partners cope.  This involves both of us filling in periodic on-line questionnaires the most recent of which (for the hearing loss participants) had many, many questions about how often we take a break from sound to relax.  Tick box options ranged from “very frequently” to “seldom or never”.  I was constantly in the “seldom or never” category, however the question was posed.  It will be interesting to find out eventually what the conclusions of the study tell us.

So how about you?  Do you take your hearing aids out to relax?  In what circumstances?  Does it help?

(Quick PS – I was amused to have my hearing-aid-wearing-hours confirmed by an audiologist once, when he was adjusting the settings on the computer programme for my Phonak Nathos aids.  “Well done”, he said “you are wearing your hearing aids 16 hours a day”.  I can see the point of giving audiologists the facility to do this.  When I worked in retirement housing I was constantly encouraging people to actually wear their hearing aids and not leave them in their bedside cabinet.  Just don’t tell the privacy campaigners.)




28 thoughts on “Do you take your hearing aids out to relax?

  1. My hearing aids are my ears. Sometimes wonder if this changes the brain’s conception of hearing it they have become such a part of me I cannot imagine life without them.

    1. Indeed, me too – both on not being able to imagine life without them and wondering what the brain “gets” before it deciphers for me.

  2. another all day person. I have a CI now, but in my hearing aid days I would sometimes take them out late evening if I’d done too much listening or they were itchy, but then would fall asleep almost immediately. It was as if my brain thought ,’hearing aids off, must be bedtime.’

    1. Hi. Yes, you can just imagine the brain thinking “what a relief…silence…quick, get some sleep before it all starts again.”

  3. I work, part-time, in a noisy school environment and, on arriving home, off come the shoes, work clothes, jewellery and hearing aid, so I fear I am in the minority here. My husband can watch TV at the volume that suits him as I always have subtitles on. I have worn aids for twenty years and I am very comfortable with them, so taking them out at home may have just become a habit. I do enjoy the quietness.

    1. Hi Margaret. You might be in the minority for comments here so far but not in the wider world, I’m sure. A question – do you always put them in again if you are going out of the house or would you only do that if you were going somewhere speech-dependent eg “in” if going out with friends but “not in” if going to the supermarket??
      Thanks for commenting and braving all us 16 hours a day people……

      1. Greetings Vera! How good of you to reply so promptly. If a visitor arrives I always ask for a minute so I can get connected in order to enjoy their visit and not miss anything. I always put aids in when leaving home and I am driving, for safety and security. of course. Unfortunately, there was a time when I failed to notice an ambulance trying to pass me, with siren sounding loudly! So yes, outside of home, always, although the din of city traffic is hard to cope with. That could be an “age” thing, perhaps. Keep up the good work. Best regards.

  4. I am a long term h/a wearer. I find the ‘mute background noise’ switch very useful at times. My aids are taken out only when I am at the hairdressers; when I replace them I feel as if I am rejoining the world. Couldn’t live without them. On a different theme, does anyone know of a portable alarm system for use both at home and away.? I mean mainly for smoke alarms.

    1. Oooo – I don’t have a mute-background-noise switch, nor have I heard of such a thing. What hearing aids do you have?
      At the hairdresser I’m always amazed at how noisy the place is when I put my hearing aids back in at the end. It feels quite serene when I’m sitting there without hearing (or indeed sight in my case because I have to take my glasses off) then WHOOOSH – what a racket – at the end.
      I’ve not heard of a smoke alarm device for travelling but I’m sure Action on Hearing Loss could help if you e mail them. Or does anyone else reading this know???
      Thanks for getting in touch Margaret

      1. Hi Vera,
        Thank you for your reply to my comment.
        You mentioned not having a background mute button: here are the details of my h/a.
        NHS Danalogic I-FIT 81
        The programme button gives me three options;
        1. Basic -everyday.
        2. Restaurant – group, noise.
        3. Loop
        I thought these were standard.
        The restaurant button is not always successful, background noise does drop, but so does your own voice. I believe it works by switching the sound to the microphone within the aid to forward only. i.e. Towards the person to whom you are talking.
        Hope you find this helpful.

      2. Hi Margaret. My fault, my misunderstanding. I call that option “directional” but I’m pretty sure we are talking about the same thing. Thanks for explaining.

  5. Happy first year – and thanks for the insights and thoughts.
    I’m another firmly in the all-day category. My old h/a had a “silent” button like Patricia. This one doesn’t, though I do turn the volume down on occasions; 24 Brownies in an echoing church hall, anyone?
    Conversely, if I’ve turned up the volume to try to get background to the tv subtitles, I always forget and scare the living daylights out of myself when it’s advert time and dashed to the loo; the flushing sound gets me every time!
    As for the time I jumped in the swimming pool without taking them out…I guess it shows they’re fully part of who I am.
    You made a birthday cake by the way, Vera? Enjoy a slice for all of us who enjoy your blog.

    1. Twenty four Brownies is an echo-y church hall must be one of the biggest hearing loss challenges there is. I admire you!
      I was thinking about taking up swimming again the other day (the legs get dog-walking exercise but not the arms) and then thought…….no glasses and no hearing aids….is this a good idea? I’m going to try it, though, and will remember you when I take my HAs out before jumping in.
      Very best wishes

  6. Hmmm interesting question – mine are in from sun up to lights out too but …… it is not unknown for me to turn them off for some peace (kids screaming in the supermarket or, worse, on a long flight, a night out in a pub with friends if they get really larey). What I frequently do though is mute the TV in the evenings if I need to talk to Keith or he to me. I get really tetchy and tired if he talks while there is conflicting sound on the TV as I am only able to concentrate on and process one key sound.

    I do agree that I need my hearing aids on all the time as Emily said, so that I catch the warning sounds e.g. traffic albeit that it is very tiring.

    Quick funny story re: turning aids off on long flights to avoid screaming kids (and indeed sometimes adults!). We used to frequently fly for 4-5 hours to Cyprus and I took pity on Keith not having the luxury of “turning off” so bought him Bose noise-cancelling headphones one Christmas. He tried them out and was blown away, so much so he wanted me to try them out. I can’t, I replied, I’ll get feedback in my hearing aids. Well take them out, he suggested …… er right, and then my very own noise cancelling ears kick in, so the point would be …. ?? We still giggle over that 🙂

    Happy anniversary and keep up the good work. Your blog is always thought-provoking and I look forward to it every week.

    1. Thank you Deb. I love the story about the headphones.
      Talking of the television, Nigel and I are quite happy sometimes for him to be watching football on the TV, with the sound on of course, whilst I watch something on the iPad with subtitles only. Football is “white noise” to me anyway – I can’t make out a single word of the commentary – so it doesn’t distract from what I’m watching/reading. But, like you, if we want to talk to each other I have to get rid of the background sound.
      Interestingly, if N wants to read a book he finds it hard if I have the sound on a programme in the same room, presumably because it is not “white noise” to him – he can hear words and they distract. But that’s fine because I’m quite happy to watch something with just the subtitles.

  7. Hi Vera

    Congratulations on the first anniversary.

    I’m so glad I found your blog, love reading all the different contributors comments, I find it a good source of mutual support, getting insight from others experiences.

    Keep up the good work.

    I don’t take my hearing aids out either to relax. They’re worn from getting dressed on a morning to going to bed at night.

    Best wishes and more power to your elbow.


    1. Hi Ian. The comments are great, aren’t they? I didn’t realise how much they would make me feel connected to other people living a life like mine.
      Very best wishes and thanks for following and commenting!

  8. Happy one year anniversary! Thank you for bringing wit and wisdom into other people’s lives with your experiences.
    I’m like you. Never, ever take my aids out. Regardless of how annoying some sounds/noise can be I like to feel I’m part of the world. They are the first thing I put in, often as I step out of bed and take them out when I lie down to sleep. Even though I live alone and have a noisy job during the day (I’m a teaching assistant in a class of 30!) to take them out in my down time would make me feel disconnected and not quite “with it!”
    Keep up the blogging

  9. Hello Vera. How are you?
    I always find your posts so interesting 🙂 Yes, I have read about people taking their hearing aids out for a rest too. I have just started to trial a CROS hearing aid (My blog story isn’t quite up to present with all this, so shhhh, it’s a secret 😉 ) Anyway, so far things aren’t that easy with them. I will write more about them in my blog…but when i take them out, I feel relaxed. I think because I have only just started wearing them, it takes a while to get used to the loud screechy (mechanical-type) sounds I am experiencing…
    Congratulations, and happy one year blogging anniversary/birthday (not sure of the correct term for this 🙂 ) to you!!! I am also really enjoying my blogging experiences, and it’s so nice to connect with others in the blogging ‘world’ 🙂
    Take care. Carly

    1. Hello Carly. Ah – a new hearing aid. That’s something I HAVE often wanted to rip out. Perseverence is the key until your brain gets used to it but I really sympathise with how hard it can be. (That said, if the sound doesn’t feel right/better after a couple of months the other key thing is to ask to try a different model – they vary enormously and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another).
      PS I LOVE your blog and can’t wait to receive the next chapter.
      Take care and keep blogging.

  10. I have a ‘silent’ setting on my hearing aids which is very useful when hubby is watching the football on TV and I am trying to concentrate on reading a book. I say silent but a slight amount of noise still filters through. Apart from that my hearing aids are in my ears for around 16 hours a day, I don’t feel as if I have woken up until I put them in my ears.

  11. This is really interesting. I think I’d be in the seldom or never category too actually. Even when I noise is bothering me, I feel a need to hear it just to know that it is there. I was skiing last week (don’t laugh at the thought) and even though the sound of out-of-control snowboarders ploughing towards me made me very tense and nervous, I would have felt desperate had I not been able to hear those warning sounds.

    1. Exactly. How can you feel relaxed and content if you can’t hear some impending disaster?? Hope you enjoyed the skiing and the out-of-control snowboarders never got you.
      Lots of love

      1. I’m an old hand at wearing hearing aids. I’ve had them for the best part of 20 years so I’m pretty used to them, and until fairly recently I put them in first thing in the morning and took them out last thing at night. But not the most recent ones. I only put these in when I’m meeting people or going somewhere where they have a loop system. The simple reason is that they don’t work very well and my audiologist says that she has reached the end of what can be done for me because I am now severely deaf. Some measure of how deaf I am is that I can no longer use the telephone, or listen to the radio or TV (unless there are subtitles) or hold a conversation unless I can lip-read at the same time. I’m bad. These hearing aids, while raising the volume just a bit, also bring a real bombardment of sharp and unpleasant backåound noise, an absolute cacophony, which is very wearing and hard to live with. So I usually avoid using them. I’m better off with the more normal and gentle sounds without hearing aids, even though the volume of the sounds I really want to hear are very quiet. I am offsetting one against the other. So that is why I choose not to wear them all the time.

        On another topic, I’m grateful to you for enthusing about the usefulness of the NGT lite App. I tried it some while back and wasn’t very keen, but with your encouragement I have now tried it again and it proved to be highly successful. I made two phone calls to two motor car insurance companies using my landline telephone and my iPad and it worked very well indeed. Which means I now don’t have to get my wife to do that sort of thing for me. It’s really very easy once you have the hang of it. So if other readers of your blog are a bit daunted by this piece of new technology, then could I encourage them to give it a go as well? Get a friend to help you if the thought of another bit of technology puts you off. It’s good and, truthfully, not difficult at all.

      2. Hello Ivan. I’m so pleased you like NGTS.
        My hearing sounds much the same as yours and I really struggled with some hearing aids I was being told were “all that could be done” for a severely deaf person but I complained and complained and eventually got something massively better. Topic of the next post probably!
        If you’re happy that’s different……because we’re all different……..

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