Don’t you just love hearing that splash as you dive in (in my case, pathetically jump in) a world wonder whether it’s Halong Bay in Vietnam, Lake Mahinapua in New Zealand, the rapids of the River Nile in Africa or quite simply a skinny dip in local Skeggy?
If I hear that, that means one thing. I quite simply forgot to take out my hearing aid that will buzz with a low bleep before dying a horrendous watery death.
Thankfully, that’s only happened to me once on Copacabana Beach in Brazil and I was able to revive it back to life thanks to round the clock care in its life support machine: my hearing aid dryer box.
But the amount of near misses are in the double digits. I would run towards a water body only to stop at the edge balancing myself up when my brain clocks the wind noise and the new-found hearing experience that I don’t normally associate with in that situation.
I’m a complete water baby. Ask my family, they constantly moan when I hog the bath for a good two hours (it’s not because I’m preening myself, I look far too good already), or when my travel buddies wonder why I’m turning German to hog the poolside sun lounger at ‘no one wakes at this time’ o’clock.
But underneath this chilled out and actually rather cool exterior, I’m constantly petrified.
I would zealously fold up my hearing aid in my towel if I wanted to take a dip but walk back convinced someone would take and flip my towel, its action flying the hearing aid to its impending doom.
I’ve tried waterproof pouches but I would constantly check to see if no damage has actually been made and let’s face it, who looks good swimming with a sexy pouch on the underside?
I could leave my hearing aid with friends but sometimes they wrinkle their nose at being handed something that’s been in my ear and my attempts to keep it in their pockets is usually met with a cool look, promising to make me pay later. That is if I can trust them enough.
Why not waterproof hearing aids? I’m very dubious about them and I’ll probably end up hyperventilating as I slowly submerge my head under the surface.
So, you can see why I could be worried. And that’s only for planned situations.
What about the unplanned situations? What about when I had to travel through a furious storm in a very small boat from Railay Beach to Krabi in Thailand? I thought everything I owned would be thrown off. What about when I completely misjudged the speed of the speedboat in New Zealand and I luckily caught my cochlear implant as it just flew off the side of my head? How about when I was rugby tackled into the surf at Australia and I had to pull both hearing aids out and hold them up high. And finally, what about the number of times when I jumped into a hostel shower only to hear a patter of water on my hearing aids and I shrieked (rather girlishly) as I tripped over the side?
Quite simply, water and hearing aids do not mix.
Even the threat of rain is enough for me to break into a cold sweat.
So what can I do to stop my hearing aids getting wet?
Well, quite simply, all I need is a little help from you. Just a little deaf awareness and understanding that sometimes I want to pretend to be a lifeguard running into the surf making all beach lovers swoon with admiration at my rippling torso. And quite so, I just want to enjoy it without thinking about the safety of my hearing aids.
Or if you see a watery menace about to drop its H20 in bombardment on my hearing aids, save me! I’ll forever love you. Just ask my friends who were with me in Thailand during the Songkran Water festival where we were chased by hosepipe bearing goons complete with water pistols. Everyone jumped on me to save me as I screamed out ‘hearing aids!’
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