I recently asked this apparently strange question on my blog because I wanted to find out if other people did what I used to do.
When I got my first hearing aids, I was so devoted to keep my hearing loss a secret from everyone. I never replaced my hearing aid batteries in front of others.
Getting my first hearing aids for me was a big step. I had just come out of my denial phase that lasted longer than a decade. During this time, despite having a moderately severe hearing loss, I didn’t wear hearing aids at all. I told myself that I was hearing just fine. It’s crazy I know, but that’s how denial works, unfortunately.
Wearing hearing aids meant that the denial phase was over for me as I acknowledged my hearing problem, but I wasn’t ready to share with the world that I had hearing loss. I wasn’t ready for the reactions of my friends. Who knew what they would think? Would they push me away from my friend circle because I didn’t look “normal” anymore?
“Wearing hearing aids meant that the denial phase was over for me as I acknowledged my hearing problem, but I wasn’t ready to share with the world that I had hearing loss.”
I didn’t know how people would react so just in case, I decided to keep my hearing loss to myself, and I was very determined!
That’s why, replacing batteries was such an emotional moment for me. If I had to take out my otherwise very hidden hearing aids in front of other people, I knew that they would ask questions.
Here’s how I describe, on my blog, the emotional side of replacing my batteries, in my early days:
“The early days wearing my hearing aids, when I had to replace my hearing aid batteries, I used to go into hiding.
During those early days, you could find Gianluca replacing his hearing aid batteries in public toilets, work toilets. But not only toilets.
Sometimes Gianluca would replace his batteries at his desk when he thought he was alone in his open space office. But he’d be so stressed that people would come back and surprise him in the act that his hands would shake. Like if he was trying to find the right key to his house door while being chased by a horde of zombies.”
After I wrote the article, I shared it on various Facebook hearing loss communities. I found that many hearing aid users, like me, felt ashamed to replace their hearing aids batteries in public.
One of my readers wrote me an email saying that he identifies as a “bathroom battery changer”, too. Another reader told me that when he can’t find a public bathroom to replace his batteries, he looks for a balcony!
Today, I replace my batteries wherever I am, and it’s been years since my bathroom days….
When people notice that I’m changing my batteries they usually ask a question or two, driven by curiosity rather than judgment. I now see these questions as an opportunity to remind people that I have hearing loss and that they need to speak to me in a slightly special way e.g. facing me, loud and clear, calling my attention first etc.
“I now see these questions as an opportunity to remind people that I have hearing loss”
Looking back, I’m glad my “bathroom battery changing” days are over.
What about you? Where do you replace your hearing aid batteries?