The On-And-Off Relationship

As a relatively new user of hearing aids (three years), and since I’m only mildly hard of hearing (without them, the spoken word is a bit blurry; with them it’s crisp), I don’t feel the need to wear my hearing aids all the time.

Oh, of course at the beginning my audiologist told me to get used to them by putting them on in the morning, not minding them all day long (pretending they’re not there and acting naturally), and taking them off in the evening. Beginners do as they’re told, don’t they? But my days are quite long (6:30 to midnight, I don’t sleep much) and my batteries ran out after 5 to 6 days.


First of all, from an ecological point of view, there was something to say here. Also, I noticed that although I enjoyed my everyday life more with them than without, going into a pub during happy hour, where loud music is loud (duh!), taught me straight away that this was uselessly painful.

I’m sure you all went through this point when you decide that after all, you are the one to decide when to wear them or not. Obviously there are some general rules we all have to take into account, but I thought it interesting to write about the day-to-day habits of a person with very mild hearing loss.

So, here’s a typical day for me:

  • Morning, from waking up to arriving in the office, including our kids’ bags with wheels rolling on cement, suburban trains complete with air conditioning, people talking loudly on their phones or unwittingly destroying their hearing by listening to their music with earbuds too loud, the Metro (underground train in Paris) and its unpredictable screeching and squeaking: OFF;

  • Arriving at the office, saying hello to everyone, getting updates on current affairs: ON;

  • Sitting at my desk, having to concentrate and trying to shut out the surrounding noise (half the time, I put a headset on and listen to music): OFF;

  • Someone asking me something — usually right after I’ve taken them off (“Let me put my ears back on”): ON;

  • Going back to work: OFF;

  • Another person calling me for an impromptu meeting (“Let me put my ears back on and I’m following you”): ON;

  • Coming back to my desk, catching up on whatever I was doing: OFF;

  • Talking on the phone (although I’m trying to reduce it now, even if I know I may end up alienating myself in a way): ON, then noticing I hear more of the ambient noise than the person on the phone, so OFF again;

  • … rinse and repeat dozens of times a day;

  • Taking the train back home —hello again screeching, I didn’t miss you too much: OFF;

  • Walking home from the station, listening to sounds around me (birds singing, cars driving by), coming home, having a normal evening interaction: ON;

  • Watching TV, most of the time with a headset on: OFF.

My hearing aids are Widex, and the model I’ve got does not have an on/off switch. So most of the time I have to open the battery lid to turn them off, and in the office I end up leaving them on although they’re lying on a corner of my desk.

Ecology-wise, deciding when to wear them or not bought me 3 to 4 days per battery, going from 5-6 to 8-9 days.

Logistically, it’s one more thing to have to think about all day long.

I’m not complaining, mind you: I like to hear better and it’s really less tiresome than when I didn’t have them.

But I still think it’s a bit complicated, and this does not help the love-hate relationship one can have towards hearing aids.

5 thoughts on “The On-And-Off Relationship”

  1. If you don’t think you need to wear your hearing aids think again! When the hearing nerves and the areas of the brain responsible for hearing are deprived of sound, they atrophy – weaken – making recovery from hearing loss through mechanical means, aka a hearing aid, that much more difficult. This is called auditory deprivation.

    The key to hearing better longer is to keep your auditory nerves and brain active and NOT let them atrophy. Through the use of hearing aids you’ll enjoy a better quality of hearing longer. Put them in and forget about them.

  2. I have a mute mode programmed into my hearing aids I use in high noise environments

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