Contributed by Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA
Most of us know that familiar sinking feeling when we’ve lost something valuable or important like our wallet, phone, car keys or wedding ring. And, some of us know what it feels like to lose a hearing aid, one of the most important – and expensive – devices for getting along in our daily lives. If you find yourself suddenly missing one of your hearing aids, keep a cool head and follow these tips to get back to hearing well as quickly as possible.
Retrace your steps
While this may seem like frustratingly obvious advice, retracing your steps just before you lost your hearing aid can pay off. Even if you’ve done so already, try once more. Give some serious thought to when you are sure you last had 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?
If you were in a public venue or business when you lost your hearing aid, either call them or visit. Good Samaritans are everywhere, and one of them may have turned your valuable hearing aid into the “lost and found.” Talk to someone at the venue and describe what your hearing aid looks like. If they don’t have it, leave your name and number and request a phone call if the hearing aid turns up. It may help to check back several times. Enlist the help of family and friends to help you look for your hearing aid at home or wherever you think it could 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 healthcare provider. Most hearing aids are covered by the manufacturer for one-time loss and damage for at least the first year and sometimes longer. Your provider will easily be able to tell you if you are covered.
Some hearing aid wearers opt to purchase additional coverage for their devices through third-parties such as ESCO or Midwest Hearing Industries. Others choose to add a special rider to their existing homeowner’s insurance to cover hearing aid loss and damage.
If you are covered by the manufacturer or one of these additional options, ask your provider about next steps. Sometimes, you will need to supply a simple notarized letter for the manufacturer or insurer. Then, you may need to make an appointment with your provider to get another earmold so the hearing aid can be remade.
Be aware that even if the hearing aid is covered and you can get a replacement at no cost, your hearing care professional may still charge you a small fee for their time or for fitting the new device when it arrives.
Preventing a lost hearing aid
Knowing what to do in the event you lose a hearing aid is important, but most wearers would prefer to avoid loss altogether. Here are some things you can do to prevent lost hearing aids:
- If you are active outdoors or enjoy athletics, there are special clips available online that can help secure your hearing aids.
- Make sure your custom hearing aids or BTE earmolds fit snugly and properly. If they feel loose in the ear, tell you hearing care professional.
- If you are looking into new hearing aids, ask about devices that are equipped with technology that can help you find them. Many new hearing aids have a feature that works with your smartphone to track lost hearing aids using a special app.
- Store your hearing aids in the same safe place every night. Don’t get in the habit of taking your hearing aids out during the day and setting them aside since you will be more likely to misplace them or forget where you’ve left them.