Contributed by Mandy Mroz, AuD, President, Healthy Hearing
With the holiday season in full swing, it’s the time of year when individuals start crossing off shopping lists for family members and friends. According to the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association, more than 28 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss.
This season, consider getting your loved ones with hearing loss a personal and practical gift – Do-it-yourself healthy hearing in a jar! DIY gifts are very popular for the holidays; individuals love receiving something homemade and gift givers enjoy putting the projects together.
Healthy hearing has never been so easy! Creating your own healthy hearing in a jar is simple, cost-effective and most items can be found at your local drugstore or pharmacy. All items are available online, as well. Additionally, it contains an assortment of items individuals with hearing aids can use to help clean, maintain and keep devices in good condition! This can be put together for a new hearing aid user, a veteran or someone who simply needs to keep an emergency kit in the car or house. And this gift gets better – we were able to purchase all the supplies for the jar for under $25.
Our jar contains:
- Handkerchief: for wiping debris off the hearing aid and provide a clean workspace to lay out your items for cleaning or battery change. Any soft cloth that can be easily washed, dried and returned to the kit will do. Our handkerchief was a hand-me-down. Free
- Hand sanitizer: to sanitize before and after touching the hearing aids. $1.00
- Lighted magnifying glass: helps with battery changes and to identify and read the serial number. $8.00
- Soft toothbrush: for gently scrubbing stubborn wax off the hearing aid. This inexpensive item is much easier to use than the miniature cleaning tools that come with the device, especially for individuals with dexterity issues. $1.00
- Travel jar for cosmetics: a travel container for cosmetics that has a wide opening is easily repurposed as a storage box for safekeeping overnight (open the battery door!) or during a shower. You could also look for a lipstick case for a different shape and a fun design. $1.00
- Soft foam earplugs: these are for protecting residual hearing while doing noisy activities without your hearing aids, like mowing the lawn, blowing leaves, hunting or using the chainsaw to cut up a supply of firewood. $3.00
- Batteries: if you know what size batteries your loved one uses in their hearing aids, giving batteries is truly giving the gift of hearing. $8.00
- Homemade coupons: these are items a loved-one can do, like hearing aid battery changes, driving service to the hearing clinic, scheduling an appointment or cleaning the hearing aids. Free
Other items to consider for the jar include a bulb blower for people who wear behind-the-ear hearing aids with custom earmolds. The earmold can be detached and washed in warm, soapy water and then the bulb blower can be used to clear any remaining water droplets or condensation out of the tubing. An earwax removal kit may be appropriate for individuals who experience wax buildup that blocks their hearing aid. A hearing aid dehumidifier, which absorbs moisture while you store your hearing aids overnight. You can find small, inexpensive ones online or in the pharmacy. Or an earband for swimming, which covers the ears to keep water out while swimming. This is great for anyone who wears hearing aids, gets swimmer’s ear or has recently had pressure-equalization (P.E.) tubes placed in their ears.
Assembling the jar is easy. Simply place items in the jar, use the handkerchief on top to serve as decoration and to help keep everything in its place and add the coupons in the handkerchief to be displayed first. You can add ribbon or a bow for more decoration.