Sunday, November 15, 2009

Squeaky Old Ear Molds

My least favorite part about my daughter’s hearing loss (other than the obvious fact that she can’t hear with her plain old ears) is ear molds. Ear molds are the slightly pliable molded part of the hearing aid that goes in the ear. They must make a tight seal that doesn’t let any feedback into the ear or the hearing aids give a nasty ear-splitting squeal.

For the first several weeks of brand new ear molds, they fit so good and tight I can hug her against my shoulder and the hearing aids don’t make a peep. As they shrink (or perhaps her ears grow) even cupping a hand over her ear will result in a shrill screech. I would rush to replace the things at that point, I do so love hugging and cuddling, but it isn’t time just yet.

The next step is random squealing. Eventually, from a growth spurt or the time the ear molds have spent dehydrating in the drying jar, the ear molds won’t have that super snug fit. They will cause the hearing aids to squeal without reason. They will cause the hearing aids to squeal because I’ve had the audacity to touch my daughter’s hair. They squeal and squeal.

To stop the squeals, we visit the audiologist who is always able to see us at a moments notice. Julia is a superb patient. She allows her ears to be filled with yellow-green goop. The new ear molds are mailed directly to our home. Last week she got to pick her own special color for the first time. Up until now she’s always had clear ear molds. She picked light pink with sparkles.

The wait with those old, squealing, gross looking ear molds is nearly unbearable. I checked the mailbox everyday with great anticipation only to find the things took more than a week to get here. There was no mail on Veteran’s Day, but we needed those ear molds!

I wish I could know exactly one week before they go bad. I could have the new ones waiting at the first squeak. Or perhaps just new ones every two weeks would work, for the cuddling.

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