Contributed by Joy Victory, Editor-in-Chief, Healthy Hearing
Have you lost your hearing aid? This happens more often than you might think. Hearing aids are tiny and can be so comfortable that you might not even notice right away if any of them fall off.
According to ESCO, a hearing aid warranty company, some of the main reasons people lose their hearing aids are simply because they are misplaced in the house, or they fall or get lost while traveling. But it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two years, face masks have become one of the main culprits for hearing aid loss: when people take off a face mask, the hearing aid can also be inadvertently removed.
âEach of these lost hearing aids was a way for someone to communicate with family, friends and loved ones,â during a difficult time, notes Patrick Miller, chief marketing officer of ESCO, in a blog post on the peak hearing aid loss during the pandemic.
Have you lost a hearing aid? Here’s what to do first
If you have a modern hearing aid, your hearing aid may come with a hearing aid app that has a ‘find my hearing aid’ feature. This can be invaluable and should be the first thing to do if a quick search in your immediate surroundings fails.
Hearing aid trackers for smartphone apps
If you have a hearing aid app, check if it has a ‘find my hearing aid’ feature. Here are the instructions for people who have the Oticon Plus hearing aids (found on page 22 of the Oticon On App User’s Guide):
âIf you cannot find your hearing aids, the app may show you a map with the last known location of the paired hearing aids when the app was running.
To locate your missing hearing aids:
1. On the tab bar, press Hearing aids.
2. Press Find my hearing aids.
A proximity bar shows how far you are from each connected hearing aid. If your phone is out of hearing aid range or the connection is lost, you can see the date and time of the last connection. On the map, the green marker indicates that there is a connection between your hearing aid and your phone. The red marker indicates that the connection is lost. For best results, it is recommended to leave the application turned on, either in active use or in the background. “
Some of the other major hearing aid manufacturers have similar hearing aid tracking features. here is Starkey’s, for example. ReSound’s smart app also offers this feature for many of their hearing aids.
Still no luck? Retrace your steps
While this may seem like frustrating and obvious advice, retracing your steps right before you lose your hearing aid can pay off. Even if you have already done so, try again. Think seriously about when you are sure you last used your hearing aid and what you were doing at the time. How did you notice your hearing aid was missing and where were you then?
Report your hearing aid loss
If you were in a public place or in a business when you lost your hearing aid, call them or visit them. The Good Samaritans are everywhere, and one of them may have turned your precious hearing aid into “lost and found”. Talk to someone there and describe what your hearing aid looks like. If they don’t have it, leave your name and number and ask for a phone call if the hearing aid presents itself. It may be useful to check several times. Enlist the help of family and friends to help you find your hearing aid at home or wherever you think it might be.
Call your hearing care professional
If retracing your steps and searching your home, office, car, purse, or briefcase doesn’t help, contact your hearing care professional. Most hearing aids are covered by the manufacturer for one-off loss and damage for at least the first year and sometimes longer. Your provider can easily tell you if you are covered. They can also find out if your app has a ‘find my hearing aid’ feature and can help you use it if you don’t know how to use the app.
If you have a guarantee
Some hearing aid wearers choose to purchase additional coverage for their devices from third parties such as ESCO or Midwestern hearing industries. Others choose to add a special rider to their existing home insurance to cover loss and damage to hearing aids.
If you are covered by the manufacturer or any of these additional options, ask your provider for the next steps. Sometimes you will need to provide a simple notarized letter to the manufacturer or insurer.
Be aware that even if the hearing aid is covered and you can get a replacement free of charge, your hearing care professional may still charge you a small fee for their time or for installing the new device when it arrives.
Prevent hearing aid loss
Knowing what to do with a hearing aid loss is important, but most people would prefer to avoid the loss altogether. Here are some steps you can take to prevent hearing aid loss:
- If you are active outdoors or enjoy athletics, there is special clips available online that can help secure your hearing aids.
- Make sure your hearing aids are properly fitted and correctly. If they feel loose in the ear, let your hearing care professional know.
- Keep hearing aids out of the reach of children or pets.
- You might want to invest in a waterproof, damage-resistant case, such as the AidKeeper.
- Store your hearing aids in the same safe place every night. If they’re rechargeable, it should be easy: put them in the charger and nowhere else.
- Don’t make a habit of taking your hearing aids out during the day and putting them aside as you are more likely to lose them or forget where you left them. In addition, it is better for your brain to wear your hearing aids all day.
- Be extremely careful when removing your face mask while wearing hearing aids. Check that they are still there after removing your mask.
- If you are the caretaker of someone who uses hearing aids, go over all of these tips with them and establish as much routine as possible of how and when they use and remove their hearing aids. Talk to the staff if your loved one is in a nursing home so they know the routine as well.