Looking back at my memories, I wish I would have handled sleepovers differently because attending sleepovers with a hearing loss makes for a more unique experience.
We would stay up late to eat snacks and watch movies and play games. The most fun part about sleepovers is staying up late and hanging out with friends. But eventually, we would all snuggle up in our sleeping bags and go to sleep. The sleeping part was always a little hard for me because at home with my parents, I could take out my hearing aids and get ready for bed with the same bedtime routine I always did.
If my parents needed to talk to me when my hearing aids were already out, it was no big deal. At sleepovers, I would go back and forth trying to decide between sleeping with my hearing aids in or out. Sleeping with my hearing aids in was super uncomfortable, but if I took them out then I wouldn’t be able to hear my friends make jokes or participate in the conversation as easily. Usually, I would wait until everyone else was asleep to take them out. Or I would take them out and pretend to be fast asleep so no one would try to talk to me.
“Usually, I would wait until everyone else was asleep to take them out or I would take them out and pretend to be fast asleep so no one would try to talk to me.”
There were also some times that I would anticipate us going to sleep so I would take out my hearing aids and lay down. Sometimes I was wrong and it turned out we were still having fun not sleeping. I would secretly put my hearing aids back in so I could join in on the jokes and games. Interestingly enough, I was never deterred from sleepovers because of my hearing aid situation. When I got invited to sleepovers, I never thought twice about saying yes. My eagerness to be with my friends was greater than my fears of dealing with my hearing aids. I suppose that’s because my friends were awesome.
Even though I was very shy, I could be myself around my friends and be accepted by them without being judged. Despite that, I still struggled to show the hearing loss part of me to them. It was something I only ever talked to my parents about and no one else.
I have no doubts that my friends would have treated me the same if I had said, “Hey let me put my hearing aids in,” when we started our late-night conversations or if I said, “I’m taking my hearing aids out now and going to sleep.”
I wish I had been more open about my hearing loss. Being more confident about my hearing loss may have helped me feel more confident in myself as well. Hearing loss is a part of my identity and I could trust that my friends liked me for who I am and that I should like me for who I am, even if I can’t hear sometimes.
“I wish I had been more open about my hearing loss because that probably would have helped me feel more confident in myself as well.”
If sleeping with your hearing aids is comfortable for you, by all means, do it. If it is uncomfortable, take them out. Don’t worry about what other people think when it comes to your level of comfort.
They are your friends for a reason! Your friends should be people you trust and people you can be yourself around. They shouldn’t make you feel bad when you can’t hear them. If you feel uncomfortable around them, I would suggest hanging out with different friends.
It may feel awkward or embarrassing or as if everyone is watching you, but I promise no one is judging you when you have to take them out or put them in. In fact, my friends were usually positively interested to know more about my hearing loss and hearing aids.
Read more: 7 fears I had as a child with hearing loss