Lost your hearing aid? Here's what to do ASAP
Lost your hearing aid? It happens more often than you might think. Hearing aids are tiny and can be so comfortable you may not even notice right away if one falls out.
According to ESCO, a hearing aid warranty company, some of the top reasons people lose their hearing aids are from simply misplacing them around the house, or they fall out while traveling. But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past couple of years, face masks have become a major culprit for why people lose hearing aids. When people take off a face mask, the hearing aid may inadvertently get removed, too.
"Each of those lost hearing aids was someone’s way of communicating with family, friends, and loved ones," during a difficult time, notes Patrick Miller, marketing manager for ESCO, in a blog post on the spike in hearing aid losses during the pandemic.
Lost a hearing aid? Here's what to do first
If you have a modern hearing aid, your hearing aid may come with a hearing aid app that has a "find my hearing aid" feature. This can be invaluable and should be the first thing you do if a quick search of your immediate surroundings comes up short.
Hearing aid trackers for smartphone apps
If you have a hearing aid app, check to see if it has a "find my hearing aid" function. Here's the instructions for people who have the Oticon More hearing aids (found on page 22 of the Oticon On app user manual):
"If you are unable to find your hearing aids, the app can show you a map with the last known location of the paired hearing aids when the app was running.
To locate your missing hearing aids:
1. On the tab bar, tap Hearing aids.
2. Tap Find my hearing aids.
A proximity bar indicates how close you are to each connected hearing aid. If your phone is out of range with the hearing aids or the connection is lost, you can see the date and time of the last connection. On the map, the green marker indicates that there is connection between your hearing aid and phone. The red marker indicates that the connection is lost. For best results, it is recommended to keep the app turned on, either actively being used, or running in the background."
Some of the other major hearing aid manufacturers have similar hearing aid tracker functions. Here's Starkey's, for example. ReSound's Smart app also offers this feature for many of their hearing aids.
Still no luck? Retrace your steps
While this may seem like frustratingly obvious advice, retracing your steps just before you lost your hearing aid can pay off. Even if you've done so already, try once more. Give some serious thought to when you are sure you last had your hearing aid and what you were doing at the time. How did you notice your hearing aid was missing and where were you then?
Report your lost hearing aid
If you were in a public venue or business when you lost your hearing aid, either call them or visit. Good Samaritans are everywhere, and one of them may have turned your valuable hearing aid into the "lost and found." Talk to someone at the venue and describe what your hearing aid looks like. If they don't have it, leave your name and number and request a phone call if the hearing aid turns up. It may help to check back several times. Enlist the help of family and friends to help you look for your hearing aid at home or wherever you think it could be.
Call your hearing care professional
If retracing your steps and searching your home, office, car, purse or briefcase doesn't help, contact your hearing healthcare provider. Most hearing aids are covered by warranties from the manufacturer for one-time loss and damage for at least the first year and sometimes longer. Your provider will easily be able to tell you if you are covered. They also may know if your app has a "find my hearing aid" feature and can help you use it if you're not sure how to use the app.
If you have a warranty
Some hearing aid wearers opt to purchase additional coverage for their devices through third-parties such as ESCO or Midwest Hearing Industries. Others choose to add a special rider to their existing homeowner's insurance to cover hearing aid loss and damage.
If you are covered by the manufacturer or one of these additional options, ask your provider about next steps. Sometimes, you will need to supply a simple notarized letter for the manufacturer or insurer.
Be aware that even if the hearing aid is covered and you can get a replacement at no cost, your hearing care professional may still charge you a small fee for their time or for fitting the new device when it arrives.
Preventing a lost hearing aid
Knowing what to do in the event you lose a hearing aid is important, but most wearers would prefer to avoid loss altogether. Here are some things you can do to prevent lost hearing aids: