August 25, 2009

Snap, Crackle & Pop!

The first six weeks of summer were filled with daily swimming lessons and, once the weather finally turned summery, frequent trips to the beach. As a result, Hadley's three waterproof hearing aids received quite the workout! Despite the waterproof name, her water aids aren't totally resistant to water and, after repeated use, start to malfunction. One water aid stopped working completely in mid-July and a second conked out in early August. I had been waiting for Hadley's next audiology appointment but, with two water aids down, it was time to make a special trip to drop them off for a repair. While we waited for them to return, Hadley wore just her one remaining water aid to the pool and beach. Now, Hadley is okay with just one aid-- it's not ideal, since the aid does turn off and on intermittently, but it gives her a small measure of safety. About a week ago, while at the beach, we decided to take a walk to the ice cream truck. I had Hadley put in one regular aid for the walk so she could hear better, for safety but also just in case she ran into friends along the way. The kids enjoyed their ice creams on the walk back, then raced into the water to clean up.

Have you figured out what happened next?

Sure enough, suddenly I heard Hadley shrieking, "Mom, Mom!" and I turned to see her running out of the ocean, holding her purple, regular, non-waterproof hearing aid in her hand. I had completely forgotten she was wearing a regular aid and she only remembered after she had ducked under the water, when it began to make this horrible sound. I cleaned the outside of the casing with a towel dampened with some plain water, took the battery out, blew away the moisture inside the battery compartment, gently dried it with a Q-tip that I always keep in her supply box, then we packed up and headed home. Within 30 minutes of being submerged, her hearing aid was in the Dry & Store, where it lived for the next 18 hours.

Remarkably, her aid sounded just fine the next morning and, after consulting with her audiologist, Hadley began using it again and headed off for a special two day vacation with her grandparents (she packed her old left hearing aid, just in case). A week later, the hearing aid still sounds great, but the battery door sticks a little bit, so we've sent it off for a repair (along with that final third waterproof hearing aid, for its regular end of season maintenance). Everything should be back for the start of school next week!

I guess I should be relieved that in 7 1/2 years of hearing aid use, this is the only damage we've ever done...hope it's a while before the next time (and, maybe, that it will happen while the aid is still covered under warranty!).

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