I took part this past weekend in the KC Ability Expo, an event in my area that promotes understanding of differently abled individuals and support organizations. The annual fest features info booths, artists, wheelchair dancers, a Deaf choir, and other entertainment. As a second-year Expo volunteer, I split duties between helping with a Hearing Loss Association of America chapter booth as well as leading children’s sign language storytime in morning and afternoon sessions. (That’s the afternoon session pictured.) Plus, I hired someone to help me chase after with my three kids…so it was a super busy day.
Uh-Oh, My Ears Are Dead
The next time I run out the door to volunteer at an Expo, I need to not be in such a hurry. Thirty minutes into the event, I stood in a crowd of people, watching the Deaf Choir perform. Suddenly, my hearing aids began talking to me in a loud voice.
“BEEP! BEEP!” my ear devices chanted.
I dug through my purse to locate the size 312 hearing aid batteries I thought I had packed. No such luck.
“BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!”
A few minutes later, I walked to my first storytime and sign language class. The robotic message from my dying hearing aid batteries continued.
What could I do—leave the Expo to locate the nearest Walgreens selling batteries? Pretend that my ears weren’t ringing their sirens that only I could hear?
Like a good storyteller, the show must go on, and I led storytime while one hearing aid continued beeping and the other aid died. Its battery had run out of juice.
While the kids learned the signs for apple, cute, and hungry for our story, I imagined that my one beeping ear was a false fire alarm of which only I was aware. How does one sign the words “Storytime Leader Suffers Hallucinations from Dying Hearing Aids”?
Several minutes later, that shrill beep finally quieted. Then I was left with the silent awareness that I would have to do a better job at next year’s Expo of remembering to pack spare Energizers.
Have you ever had a hearing aid battery die on you at the most inopportune time—when you didn’t pack spare batteries? How did you handle those annoying beeps?