Commonly it’s an excuse used by school-aged kids who forgot to do their homework, but for me, was a nightmare that I actually did not think existed or would happen.
When something happens to our hearing technology, not only do we have to consider the cost of the hearing aids but we also worry about how we will do without hearing until we can get new ones.
When my dog ate my hearing aids, my initial thoughts were; what will I do? I don’t have thousands of dollars to buy new hearing aids! I cried out all the things running through my head. I texted my parents and told them what happened, and thankfully, I found a program that provided funding for new ones.
When my dog ate my hearing aids I was living in an apartment in Colorado with my then-boyfriend and 1 year old puppy, Arya. I had just gotten home after finishing work, and wanted to get cleaned up. I took my hearing aids off and set them on the dresser in our bedroom, then hopped in the shower.
Twenty minutes later, I got out of the shower and opened the door to head to my room to change. I looked down the hallway and saw Arya chewing on something…
At her puppy stage, she wouldn’t chew on a lot of human stuff but once in awhile she would find something interesting and go to town. I walked towards her and asked “Arya, what do you have?” As I got closer, I couldn’t see what she was eating exactly, but it looked like small plastic pieces. When I approached her, I finally realized what she had in those sweet little puppy paws: my hearing aids!
“…I finally realized what she had in those sweet little puppy paws: my hearing aids!”
My heart stopped, I froze with disbelief and fear.
I reached down, pushed Arya away and picked up the little pieces that once allowed me to hear. The hearing aids where still somewhat intact but dented, broken and had little pieces broken off from Arya’s strong teeth. I turned them over in my hands thinking this could not actually be happening. The wave of emotions hit me, and I went into panic mode.
Read more: Don’t Eat my Hearing Aid!
Sobbing uncontrollably, my boyfriend had approached me and seen what had happened. I was blubbering out “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t work without these. What will I do? I don’t have thousands of dollars to buy new hearing aids!”
I cried out all the things running through my head. I texted my parents and told them what happened.
My parents and boyfriend tried to comfort me and find options to hear again.
I found my old hearing aids, which were now old and lacked the new technology that my Phonak Naída hearing aids had, but they worked.
Then, we called my audiologist to make an appointment to see my audiologist the next day.
*Phonak always recommends you keep hearing aids away from pets. Hearing aids that are still switched on and lying around emit high pitched sounds that can irritate dogs. This has resulted in some aids getting eaten.
I frantically told my audiologist Zach what had happened. I told him I didn’t have money to buy new hearing aids, but he kept a calm attitude and explained there might be a way to get new hearing aids without paying for them.
He explained that since I worked full time, I was part of the workforce and I could apply to have them grant me new hearing aids so I could continue working for the state. He referred me to the Colorado Workforce, a program with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and told me to set up an appointment with them.
“He explained that since I worked full time, I was part of the workforce and I could apply to have them grant me new hearing aids so I could continue working for the state.”
I met with a counselor at the Workforce and explained my situation. She handed me an application, which I filled out promptly.
The application included questions about my background, what I was doing for work, what goals I had for work, my bank account information and what my financial situation was like. A couple weeks later, they told me I had been accepted but would be put on a waiting list as the next recipient. The workforce informed me it could be a month or maybe a year.
Time went by and about five months later, they contacted me and told me I was off the waiting list and due for my hearing aids!
I met with Zach and we figured out what hearing aids I would receive, which was the new version of the pair that Arya ate, the Phonak Naída V hearing aids. A week later, I got fitted with the new hearing aids.
I continued to keep in touch with the Workforce in the following three months to keep them up to date with what I was doing and where I was working. After that, they told me good luck and that I was no longer to be ‘monitored’.
What a situation and a process! It was an awful situation that ended up working out in the best way possible. I could not fathom coming up with the money for new hearing aids, and I am so grateful for Zach’s knowledge of this program. I’m also very thankful for the experience with the Workforce and their willingness, determination to help me get the technology I needed to continue working and living my life to my fullest potential. If I hadn’t found out about this, there’s a good chance I would still be wearing outdated hearing aids that lessen my hearing experience.
“I’m also very thankful for the experience with the Workforce and their willingness, determination to help me get the technology I needed to continue working and living my life to my fullest potential.”
It was a process that required interviews, meetings and contracts. It was a long wait and I didn’t know what would actually happen. In the end, I got a fresh pair of ears and a major lesson: Now, I don’t leave my hearing aids ANYWHERE within proximity where Arya can find them. When I go to sleep, they go into a hard case. If I’m in the shower, they are far from where Arya can find them. Never underestimate the power of puppies!
If you’re ever in a situation like this, do your research, talk to your audiologist, there will be a way!