What’s In a Name?

I was fascinated by an earlier post from Stephanie about language and the lack of an original name for hearing aids, something the aural equivalent of ‘glasses’ and ‘contact lenses’ (as opposed to ‘seeing aids’). I also enjoyed Steve’s post about ‘hearables’. It made me remember something from my childhood that I thought I’d share with you.

When I was a young child, I didn’t realise people were even saying ‘hearing aid’. Because of the accent, it sounded like they were saying ‘eerie naid’, which had no meaning other than that to me, it was the equivalent of glasses. Someone’s ‘eerie naid’ helped them hear in the same way their glasses helped them to see: such was the way of the world in my three or four year old mind.

Things were further confused by my beloved Nan saying, “Pass me my glasses so I can hear you.” Unbeknown to me, my Nan had bone conducting hearing aids attached to her glasses.

In my mind, her glasses looked something like these Cats eye glasses — but then again, it was a very long time ago!

Cats eye glasses by Paul Taylor
Photo credit: Paul Taylor website

I wonder if giving the ‘devices in our ears’ a new name would help with the image problem aids seem to have.

Hearing aids have long been associated with old age/ageing which is not good for those of us who need them at a much younger age — even in childhood.

How about a new name such as ‘Personal Amplifying Devices’? That’s what a hearing aid is really: a personal amplifying device. This would be the name equivalent of ‘contact lenses’.

When I don’t have my lenses in, I say, “I haven’t got my eyes in.” Is it that far a leap for those of us who say, “Wait, I just need to put my ‘ears’ in,” to say, “I just need to put my P.A.D.s in or my amplifiers in”?

I think not and you have to admit, it sounds a whole heap better than putting your ‘eerie naids’ in.