Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and your hearing aid batteries have gone dead?
There have been quite a few times when I’ve been in the middle of a conversation with colleagues, or in meetings, only to hear that familiar beeping sound telling me that one of my batteries is failing. Sometimes it can take a while to actually stop working and I can carry on talking (and hearing) for a while, but there have been occasions when my hearing aid has simply stopped dead all together with little warning.
Whilst this can be difficult enough to manage when you’re with familiar friends and faces, being in a work situation and with people you might never have met before can make it all the more stressful.
How I handle such situations can vary depending on the circumstances. If the conversation is coming to an end, then I might simply try to carry on the conversation by concentrating really hard and relying on lip reading. Alternatively, if its a meeting, I might excuse myself and move away somewhere quiet to change my battery, or else just try to change it as quickly as possible there and then. I invariably have my work bag beside me and can discreetly take my hearing aid out to change my battery in just a minute or two without missing much of the discussion or drawing attention to myself.
Of course, all of this is dependent on having some batteries to hand in the first place, and this is where routines become important.
Let me give you an example.
I have an excellent hearing aid cleaning kit (you can buy one like it here), in which I carry two batteries. It goes with me everywhere; from work bag by day, to handbag at night and into my pocket, if I’m going out somewhere ‘bagless’. However, on one occasion a few years ago, when I’d only just graduated to using two hearing aids, I was sitting in quite an important business meeting when the battery in my left ear (my worst ear) failed. I reached into my bag for my battery box and to my panic I saw that it contained two dead batteries. After a couple of minutes wondering how on earth I was going to cope in the situation, I then decided that what I had to do was to remove the battery from the hearing aid in my right ear and place that into my left hearing aid. Undertaking a double hearing aid battery change in the end wasn’t as discrete as I’d hoped as everyone could see that I simply wasn’t focused on the meeting, and I also missed quite a bit of the discussion that I simply couldn’t catch up with (luckily I wasn’t chairing at the time or else I would have been well and truly stuck). As well as feeling conscious of drawing attention to myself, I also stressed during the rest of the meeting about not being able to completely follow the discussion.
I learned a valuable lesson that day and you can bet I’ve never forgotten to replace the dead batteries in my battery box as soon as possible since then. Routine is important.
Let me give you another example. Have you ever rushed out of the house to work and forgotten your hearing aids? I have, and whats more, I know that there is no way on earth I could get through a day at work without them. I also know exactly how long it takes me to get to work on a morning and know that if I have to turn round in the middle of rush hour to go back home to pick up my hearing aids, I am going to be at least 30 minutes late. I have to foolishly admit that I’ve done this on more than one occasion and obviously didn’t learn my lesson quick enough. However, its not happened for quite some time now, because I’ve established a specific routine when I take my aids out each night.
Ultimately, what I’m trying to do is to share some of the problems I’ve had, in the hope that you won’t make the same mistakes as me. If you’re new to wearing hearing aids, my simple advice is to make sure you start to establish a routine around using them, and other assistive devices you might have.
So my first tip is this: always remember to carry some spare batteries with you wherever you go, and make sure that when you’ve used up the batteries in your work bag, then get into the habit of replacing any dead ones as soon as possible when you get home.
My second tip is get encourage you to get into a routine of putting your hearing aids in the same place when you take them out each night. For me, its my work bag so that even if I forget to put my hearing aids in before I leave the house, I know that they’ll be in my bag when I get to work and are easily accessible.
In the end, its as simple as that, but it took me a while to firmly embed these habits in my daily routine. If you adopt similar habits, then it can save you from an awful lot of time wasting and embarrassment at work.
What routines do you have? Please share them.