Why I Decorate My Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants
It can be a challenge for some children and adults to accept wearing hearing aids and cochlear implants, especially if they haven’t been deaf their whole lives. For some, they may remember life before, which can make life after hearing loss harder. In my case, I was born deaf, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 4 years old. I got my first pair of purple hearing aids two weeks later, and I also picked out sparkly rainbow glitter ear molds to go along with them. Needless to say, I was not afraid of letting the rest of the world see my hearing aids. Because I don’t remember life without hearing aids, it has always been natural to me.
I would always have bold colored hearing aids and bright, multi-colored ear molds. I would put stickers on them to switch it up every once in a while for special occasions, holidays, and more. Because I wasn’t a fan of having pierced ears, my hearing aids became my “hearlings” (a made-up combination of hearing and earrings). I wore hearing aids until I was 13, when I received my bilateral cochlear implants.
Being a teenager, I needed to make those implants look as awesome as possible. I stepped up my decorating game. I found that by decorating my implants, I had more confidence. I realized that because my designs were so unique, I was proud of them. This helped me beat that teenage “I hate being deaf and different” stage many deaf teens go through at some point in their lives.
My biggest piece of advice to newly diagnosed people using hearing aids and/or cochlear implants is to do what you need to be comfortable with your devices. If people are thinking about how awesome your design looks, they may hardly even notice that it isn’t a Bluetooth headset! Decorations on hearing aids and cochlear implants make great conversation starters. They also encourage people to ask questions and educate themselves. Some companies offer sticker sheets with the devices, and cochlear implant covers can be ordered from the manufacturer or SkinIt.com. However, some awesome designs can be handmade as well to be extra unique!
Hearing aids and cochlear implants may be medical devices, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun accessorizing them. That is why I decorate my devices, and why you should too!
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Thinkstock photo by Chamille White.