Plinkety plink; how do you tell if your ears are working?

Hello signI’ve had a perforated eardrum.  It was the non-implanted side, after a chest infection/cough….sudden sharp pain…..fluid coming out of my ear…..ring 111…..trip to see emergency doctor on a Saturday morning.  It all seems fine now but yes I did panic.  I particularly panicked when I couldn’t hear my hearing aid’s reassuring plinkety-plink-plink sound when I turned it on.  My GP said it might take a few weeks for the eardrum to heal enough to give me my “normal” hearing back in that ear but, just two weeks after it all began, things sound pretty good.  So that’s not the main point of this post.  The point is……what do you say to yourself to check that your ears are working???

The sound my hearing aid makes when I turn it on is a huge “tell” for me.  I can tell immediately if things are OK with that ear, because the plinkety-plink-plink sounds like it should.  If it sounds dull or unusually quiet then I start thinking either that I’ve got a build-up of ear wax or perhaps a stuffy head from a cold.  I start worrying about it until it recovers its normal levels of sharpness.  Last week I was worrying so much I forced myself only to try to hear the sound once a day.  I’d take myself off to some quiet place, turn the hearing aid on, close my eyes, send off a million wishes and concentrate feverishly.  When I started to be able to hear “something” I think I started cheering, it was such a relief.  Hurrah hurrah!  I have very little hearing left in that ear but I like what I have.  I don’t want to lose it.

On my implant side I get a reassuring “snap” in the morning when my speech processor locks into contact with the magnet in my skull.  It’s unmistakable but I still like to try out a few sounds to check I’m in touch with the world.  I might cough, or listen out for the sound of the light switch.

I know I’m not the only person to have these little rituals.  A couple of years ago Charlie Swinbourne (Limping Chicken) wrote a post about how he made a clicking sound with his tongue to check that all was well when he turned his hearing aids on.  His wife (also a hearing aid wearer) said “ha”.  Someone else he knew said “hello hello hello” and people commenting on the post admitted to other variants, including “testing one two three”, “go go go” and clapping.  It’s all very entertaining and you can read it here.

So what do YOU do?

And do you do THIS?  Do you ever check what you can hear without any technology to help you at all?  I am now so completely deaf on my right side and very, very, very deaf on my left side that the world without my two contraptions is an incredibly silent place.  In the shower I can’t hear if the water is running, I have to look.  Nigel knows not to try to say anything to me in the night.  So sometimes I experiment with what I CAN hear (aid-less).  My “tell” for this one is to click my finger nails together right at the entrance to my ear canal.  On the right side……nothing.  On the left side……yes, definitely something there.  WHY do I do this??  I really don’t know.  Is it just me??


Image copyright: maxborovkov/123RF Stock Photo



12 thoughts on “Plinkety plink; how do you tell if your ears are working?

  1. Hi everyone

    Sometimes I switch off when I am out for a country walk with Ginger my Hearing Dog . One day we were walking through Pucks Glen, a magical part of the world near where I live, there was nobody around. I took out my hearing aids to get a bit of air around my ears and enjoy the peace and quiet. After a while we were walking past a huge waterfall and I became aware that I couldn’t hear the sound of the water, it felt very strange so I popped my hearing aids back in and could hear the roar of the waterfall, it was a wonderful sound it felt like being alive again, I could hear birds chirping and the trees rustling it made me appreciate how beneficial my hearing aids are, something we often take for granted. Being deaf can have its advantages if we wear hearing aids , we can be part of the hearing world or if we feel like it we can enjoy the sound of silence.
    Wishing you all a very Peaceful Christmas and a good New Year
    Neil and Ginger

    1. Hello Neil. I love how you said “it feels like being alive again”. Exactly right, and it still makes my spine tingle.
      All the best for the new year to you (and Ginger).
      Vera (and Izzy)

  2. I am behind you all as am still wearing hearing aids, but the tune is loud enough for me to hear when I turn them on in the morning. I also have a silent setting which is very handy when my husband is watching TV programmes that are either cowboys and Indians or war films!

    1. Hello Patricia. I love it that you have a silent setting. Does your husband know when you are on it, that’s the question?
      Have a great Christmas. Vera.

  3. Hi Vera

    Yes I’ve had the morning panic when I’ve put my aids in switched on and there’s nothing but silence in one ear.

    Thank God for an air blower to clear any ear debris out of a tube.

    Last Friday I had a day off and hadn’t put my aids in when using the microwave and it was a bit of a shock to find that I heard nothing when it reached the end of the time I’d set. I immediately went and put my hearing aids in and repeated the exercise with the microwave. This time I heard the beeping noise it makes when the timer has finished.

    When it was raining on Saturday I could hear it hammering on the lounge window. I took my aids out and the hammering of the rain was replaced by silence.

    Strange how we lose sounds without realising.

    1. This Spring, when the sound of birds singing was unbelievably loud, I occasionally took my speech processor off just to test my memory. Yes…..nothing. Silence. Speech processor back on again……incredibly loud singing. It’s bizarre in a way to be so reliant on technology, but thank goodness there are some technologies to be reliant on!
      Have a great Christmas.

      1. Hi Vera loving your posts. You have come so far. Having lived with hearing loss most of my life I am about to have C. Implant surgery this Thursday too.
        So nervous

      2. Hello Deborah. I was nervous two days beforehand too. Who wouldn’t be! But it was all absolutely fine, as you’ll have seen on the films, and so, so, so worth it (understatement of the century). Are you on Facebook? Did you know there is a morethanabitdeaf Facebook group? There are a few people on there who have either just had implants or are just about to have one… might find it helpful??
        All the very best for Thursday and let me know how you get on. Vera.

  4. Hi
    I have always put my hand over my ear to check my hearing aids. Now that I have an implant I rub my hand near my shoulder. I am just amazed that I can hear my hand on the material. In fact I am amazed at all the things I can hear especially the electronic buzzes which are everywhere. I didn’t know that we lived in such a noisy environment.

    1. Hello Janet. Gosh I can relate to this. I couldn’t believe how noisy my raincoat was, or how noisy the birds were in Spring. It’s miraculous isn’t it? A year later (for me) things have become normalised but I still sometimes wonder at it. The other week I had a few days in bed and realised I could hear Nigel downstairs in the kitchen as he made his breakfast. Some of it is trivial stuff (like that….who cares really if you can hear plates clinking at the other end of your house) but it’s a symbol of how much easier life is and always makes me feel happy.
      Have a great Christmas. Vera.

  5. Hi Vera. I always click my finger nails also to see how the sound is in my ‘hearing’ ear as it fluctuates so much due to my Meniere’s. I won’t need to do that after Thursday! xxx

    1. Hah! Another finger nail clicker!! I’m not alone.
      Great news that you got your operation date; an excellent Christmas present. Don’t forget to let us know how you get on.

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