Holiday stocking stuffers for hard-of-hearing individuals
As legend has it, long ago St. Nicholas slid down the chimney of the home of a recently widowed man with three daughters who was worried about making ends' meet. Knowing this proud father would refuse direct charity, the kindly saint filled the girls’ recently laundered stockings (which were drying by the fire) with gold coins before disappearing.
If you’re one of Santa’s many helpers who will be filling Christmas stockings this year, we thought you might appreciate a few gift suggestions for your loved ones who are deaf or have hearing loss. While these aren’t as spendable as the coins St. Nicholas left the widower in our story, they may be worth their weight in gold if you’re struggling for some unique ideas.
Ever wonder why oranges are a popular stocking gift? In an online article on Smithsonian.com, author Emily Spivack gives us a few possible reasons. One considers that fresh fruit wasn’t as plentiful back then as it is today so it was quite a treat to find on Christmas morning. The other suggests that St. Nicholas left gold balls in the stockings of the widow’s daughters instead of coins. Obviously, round, orange citrus balls are a much more affordable substitute. Speaking of affordable, here are some practical and affordable stocking gifts for those who are deaf or hard of hearing:
Batteries. Any hearing aid wearer will tell you how discouraging it is to reach for a fresh pack of batteries only to find out they don’t have any. Before you rush out to the drugstore to purchase these as gifts, however, you’ll want to do a little research. Hearing aids come in all shapes and sizes, meaning they don’t all take the same size battery. Cochlear implants require batteries, too. Find out which battery the hearing device requires so you can purchase the correct size.
How long does the average hearing aid battery last? According to Rayovac, that depends a lot on the person’s hearing loss, their listening environment and how they use the device. The size of the device has a lot to do with it, too. Smaller batteries hold less zinc than their larger counterparts and, therefore, don’t last as long. Use that as a guide when deciding how many batteries you should stuff in their stocking.
Jewelry. They say good things come in small packages, which is especially true when you’re talking about jewelry. DeafGifts.com carries a nice selection of reasonably priced necklaces, bracelets, charms, earrings, lapel pins and body piercings featuring “I love you” in sign language.
While you’re on the site, check out their wide selection of cell phone charms, phone covers and keychains with the same hand sign.
Gift certificates. If you can’t decide which item best fits your loved one’s personality, consider purchasing a gift certificate to their favorite retail store. Paper gift certificates can be rolled tightly and secured with curling ribbon before being placed in the stocking, or sealed in a festive envelope.
- Liberty Hearing and Health
- Harris Communications
- Local hearing healthcare professionals. If you know who provides hearing healthcare for your loved one, check to see if they sell gift certificates.
Hearing aid protectors. These invaluable accessories keep the wearer’s hearing aid or cochlear implant from becoming lost or damaged due to moisture. Many are available in a wide variety of styles and colors and cost less than $25.
Hearing aid clips feature an adjustable loop which goes over the hearing instrument’s ear hook. The other end clips to clothing. These are great gifts to consider for athletes or young, active children.
Hearing aid sweatbands slip on easily to protect behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids from moisture due to rain, snow and perspiration, as well as dust infiltration. Most are acoustically transparent so they won’t interfere with amplification or performance.
Hearing aid storage cases. Most hearing aids come with a storage case, but you can never have too many. Stashing an extra storage case in the car or purse may just come in handy when unexpected situations arise. This pocket-sized carrying pouch from Liberty Health Supply is inexpensive and can also be used for earphones or other small objects.
Hearing Aid Dryers. Help the hearing aid user in your life effectively store and maintain their hearing aids with a hearing aid dryer. These devices safely remove damaging moisture caused by perspiration, condensation and the elements from hearing aid devices. Some also claim to destroy viruses and bacteria.
For the person who has everything
We seriously doubt you’re even thinking about putting coal in someone’s stocking, but you might be interested in how that tradition got started. Most sources agree it began in the 19th century when St. Nicholas (or Sinterklaas and his assistant, Black Pete) encountered a child who hadn’t behaved well enough to warrant a nice gift. Evidently, in order to encourage better behavior next year, they would reach into the fireplace they just shimmied down and grab a lump of coal. Not only was it readily accessible, it also sent an effective message – one parents have been sending ever since.
Now, for those loved ones who seemingly have everything and most definitely do not deserve a lump of coal, you may consider making a gift in their name to a hearing health foundation or local organization.
Foundations. Check with local hearing healthcare professionals. Many of them have either started their own foundation to help patients who can’t afford the cost of hearing devices or know of community organizations which accept donations of used hearing aids and monetary gifts. If you can’t find any in your community, consider a donation to these nationally recognized foundations:
- Hearing Health Foundation
- American Hearing Research Foundation
- Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss
- Hear the World Foundation
Community organizations. Several community-based organizations, such as the Lions Club and Rotary International, provide reconditioned hearing aids and other services to the underserved populations in their respective communities. Contact these clubs directly; your local United Way agency may also have information on additional resources for the deaf and hard of hearing.
If you’re wondering, the top five stocking stuffer gifts are bath and beauty basics, collectibles, games, books and candy -- items which may help round out stocking stuffer gift giving for the remaining people on your Christmas list. Stocking stuffers aside, the staff at Healthy Hearing would like to take this opportunity to wish you a holiday full of love, happiness and, of course, healthy hearing.