By: Sara Lundquist
Bling: (Bling or bling-bling) is a slang term popularized in hip hop culture, referring to flashy, ostentatious or elaborate jewelry and ornamented accessories
We are getting close to the year point that my hearing started dropping and hearing aids were purchased and worn. I grew up in a family that has a history of hearing loss this isn’t a new thing for me. I can remember sitting in the audiologist office in 7th grade and being told I should quit the swim team for fear of further damage on my ears. I can remember running from the doctor’s office crying and not wanting to talk about this information. Small tidbits of the given information from that doctor appointment never fully left my head but was pushed to the back recesses of my brain.
In college I majored in communicative disorders and took a lot of audiology classes. That tidbit would creep up to the surface every once in a while and I would think would this be me someday? Will I be getting fitted for hearing aids in my lifetime? Will I be honest about my hearing loss or try to hide it? Anxiety would creep in when us students would have to give each other a hearing exam. I know I wasn’t hearing the beeps. I never was in the normal zone. Many questions and then college came and went and it would get shoved to the back of my brain once again.
Little things would trigger this thought, walking behind someone and noticing hearing aids I would wonder will people notice me if I am wearing them? I knew my hearing wasn’t great. I had never heard my kids whisper to me or talk from another room everything I was used to from a young age. I don’t ever remember hearing a whisper to tell the truth.
So nearing a year of my hearing aids. When I picked up my first hearing aid I cried. I didn’t think it was going to be that hard. I had people who were sympathetic and then I had people who said I should move to the nursing home, do I get a senior discount now. I was ashamed and I didn’t want ANYONE to know. I wore my hair down and I didn’t want to let anyone in on this secret except family and a few friends and to be honest I had a very hard time with them also.
I researched and I gained friends that were also in the same “boat” as I was. I started to breathe again and was able to see this not as an end of the road but just a different road. I started writing and being a little more vocal about what was going on in my life. This past summer I received a gift of hearing aids that are much more powerful than the one I purchased and they seem to serve me well.
I come back to the definition of BLING. I have these great Starkey hearing aids and they are in a dark brown aka espresso color. I don’t mind them but they needed something more, some pizzazz. I sat down at the table a week ago with some paints and thought I would design them. That just seemed so permanent to me. So I went to my addiction of Pinterest and searched blinging hearing aids. I got the idea of using nail foils on the hearing aids. I bought a pack for $2 and I have enough to bling out the aids probably 4 times. I tried my first time with a butterfly design. I also bought a pack that looks a little like tie-dye. I like the fact that I can take it right off with no residue and start over with a new design. I love the look of them, I love that I am wearing something a little fun just like the bright blue glasses I picked out a couple years ago. In a year I went from scared and hiding to pulling my hair up and showing off butterfly hearing aids. What I loved the most is when I showed my husband he looked at them and said, “Hey those are really cute, great job”. My daughter gushed over them and can’t wait to help me redesign the next time. Am a complete open book, not even close. A few pages maybe have been exposed to some people for now. But for now I will wear my hair anyway I please, not care if people notice hearing aids or ear molds. I will design them and wear them and show them off. I also have a remote and streaming device that just looks so plain and a solid color. Maybe that needs a little blinging out also.
So maybe blinging means some acceptance. Showing something off instead of hiding it. Blinging lets the world see that you are in acceptance and even inviting a question or comment. If someone wants to ask me about them, that is just fine.