Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing
Now that the holiday season is in full swing and you have a few hard-to-buy-for people on your gift list, Healthy Hearing is here to help. We’ve found some unique hearing health gifts for everyone on your nice list, regardless of whether or not they have hearing loss.
Advances in technology have positively impacted almost every aspect of our health — including our hearing. Here are a few gadgets your hard-of-hearing friends and family may appreciate receiving this holiday season:
- Assistive listening devices (ALD), such as personal listening amplifiers, can be used in recreational environments (think eating out or watching television). Costs range from $30 for an individual device to upwards of more than $1,000 for complete in-home systems. Learn more about TV hearing devices.
- Vibrating alarm clock. Do you have a sleepy head in your household who has trouble hearing the alarm clock? Buy them one with an extra loud sound and bed shaker. Online costs range from $18-$40.
- Captioned telephones: Make phone conversations more enjoyable between hearing and hard-of-hearing family members with a captioned telephone. These devices translate the spoken word into text which appears on a screen, making it easier for those with hearing loss to participate in the conversation. Prices begin at $75.
- Sound Bar TV speaker with hearing aid technology: Even those with normal hearing can use a little help separating conversation from distracting background noise. That’s the premise behind the AccuVoice AV200, a sound bar television speaker which uses hearing aid technology to lift voices from the background noise to make them crystal clear. This device is $200.
A good book is always in season. Here are a few Healthy Hearing picks for those who have hearing loss as well as for those who want to understand more about their hearing health.
Books about tinnitus
Learn more about tinnitus, a condition also known as ringing in the ears which affects as much as 32 percent of the population.
For your little reader
Books with characters who have hearing loss are suitable for children of all hearing abilities, as they promote awareness among normal hearing children as well as a positive sense of self among those with hearing loss. Here are a few of our favorites:
- El Deafo: follow author Cece Bell’s journey from the new girl in school with a bulky hearing aid to superhero “El Deafo, Listener for All” in this poignant, graphic novel memoir. A 2015 Newbery Honor Book, it is recommended for ages 8-12.
- Oscar-winning actor and producer Marlee Matlin writes about the challenges of growing up with a hearing disability in two children’s books, Deaf Child Crossing and Nobody’s Perfect. These books are also recommended for ages 8-12
Sometimes the best gifts really do come in small packages. If you’re assisting Santa with stocking stuffers this year, consider picking up one or several of these reasonably priced suggestions:
- Batteries: Make sure your favorite hearing aid wearer always has a fresh pack of batteries to power their devices, available in most drugstores. Reminder: hearing aids come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure to find out what size of hearing aid battery powers their device.
- Hearing aid dryers: Hearing aids are expensive. Help your hearing aid wearer protect their investment with a Dry and Store device, designed to safely remove moisture caused by perspiration and condensation.
- Hearing aid clips: Know an active hearing aid wearer? Tuck inexpensive hearing aid clips into their stocking. These accessories attach to behind-the-ear (BTE) or in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids and clip to the wearer’s clothing. Costs begin at $8. Kid-friendly designs are available.
- Hearing aid sweatbands: Moisture from perspiration and environmental conditions can damage the intricate technology inside hearing aids. Help your BTE hearing aid wearer protect their investment with a hearing aid sweatband. Costs average $25 per sweatband.
- Hearing loss awareness jewelry: Show your support for the Deaf community with necklaces, bracelets, charms, earrings and lapel pins or cell phone charms, phone covers and key chains featuring the “I love you” sign language symbol at DeafGifts.com.
Hearing loss prevention
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) affects 24 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69. Fortunately, NIHL is preventable. Here are a few gift suggestions to help protect the hearing of your friends and family.
- Ear Muffs: even a one-time noise event can damage hearing or cause permanent hearing loss. That’s why hobbyists who enjoy loud recreational activities will appreciate receiving a pair of noise-canceling ear muffs. Prices begin at $15 online or from your favorite sporting goods store.
- Vibes: Music aficionados will love receiving a pair of Vibes, specialized earplugs which lower the sound decibel in the listening environment without sacrificing sound clarity. Cost is $23.99 for one pair with a case.
Healthy hearing is the best gift
Any season is a good time to start taking care of your hearing health. If you haven’t had a hearing evaluation recently, now is a good time to schedule one. Find a hearing healthcare professional you can trust in Healthy Hearing’s Find a Clinic directory. Good hearing is a gift you give yourself and those close to you every day of the year.