I was 6 years old when the idea of getting my ears pierced was first planted in my head. My mom asked me if I wanted to get my ears pierced and I kept telling her, “Maybe,” because it sounded like it might hurt. I practiced pinching my ears and I didn’t like it. However, one day my mom said, “Wouldn’t it be cute it you had some earrings on right now?” I finally replied, “Okay.”
When my mom and I went to go get my ears pierced, I started getting teary and afraid of the pain, but it was over before I knew it. I had an earring in each ear the color of amethyst – my birthstone. I twisted the earrings and cleaned them every day. In high school, I wanted more ear piercings so my mom let me get my ear lobes double pierced and I got my cartilage pierced. Before I got my ears pierced, I would never wear my hair up because I felt insecure about my ears with my hearing aids in. Having these cool piercings and earrings made me like my ears more.
“Having these cool piercings and earrings made me like my ears more.”
In college, I started branching out with my ear piercings. I got my cartilage pierced one, two, three times. I got another piercing in the middle of my other ear and one on my upper ear called a forward helix. After that, I became drawn to more unique ear piercings that aren’t just on the outer edge of the ear. I went to the piercing parlor with a picture of a rook piercing in my hand. It would sit above my hearing aid so there wouldn’t be an issue with that, but it was the first time that I would have to tell the piercing artist about my hearing aids and ask if they would be in the way during the piercing process. We agreed that it would be best to take it out so the needle didn’t hit it.
I wanted to keep going and getting more unique piercings, like a conch piercing or a tragus piercing, but it wouldn’t work with my hearing aids. First, the healing process would be more painful with my hearing aid pressing on the earring. Second, even though I love earrings, I still prioritized the functionality of my hearing aids over the aesthetic of ear piercings. Ear piercings that would get in the way of my hearing aids would just not work for me, as cool as they are.
“I still prioritized the functionality of my hearing aids over the aesthetic of ear piercings.”
As silly and unnecessary as ear piercings are, not being able to have certain piercings because of my hearing aids kind of felt like another reminder of my limitations as a hard of hearing individual. I couldn’t help but feel a little bummed that there was another thing that I couldn’t do because of my hearing aids. I don’t dwell on it too often though, because I do have 10 other ear piercings that I really enjoy having. My morning routine includes putting in all 10 earrings and then my hearing aids, and having all my earrings in definitely boosts my confidence!
I’ll never forget when I attended my first Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) meeting. I was wearing my hair in a ponytail and I met another woman. She wore shiny dangly earrings hooked over her over-the-ear hearing aid tubes. When she saw my ears, she exclaimed, “Hey! Your ears are decorated too!” In that moment, I forgot all about the ear piercings that I couldn’t have because of my hearing aids. Instead, I couldn’t stop smiling because I felt like I had so much in common with someone I had just met: our shared experience with hearing loss and our love of decorating our ears.
Read more: Why I decorate my hearing aids