Hearing Aid Fashion

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Courtesy of Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms

Geek culture is a strange thing, where people take pride in what sets them apart. We wear our hearts – and our fandoms – on our sleeve. Often literally. The stories and themes we prize teach us how to slay dragons, overcome evil empires, and be ourselves.

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Courtesy of Moni’s Blings

It should come as no surprise, then, that members of the deaf and hard of hearing community use their inner geek to channel the power of awesome in their own special ways. Their inner geek takes many overt forms, including wearing their fandoms as conspicuously and stylishly as possible. Many who are deaf or hard of hearing wear specialized medical gear, including hearing aids and Cochclear implants.What better way to express multiple aspects of your unique self than to show off your nerdy side with specialized hearing aid bling?

The people who make such extraordinary jewelry are as much fun as their products.

Courtesy of Moni’s Blings.

Moni began exceeding conventional expectations for the hard of hearing by playing the viola in a symphony during her school years. Today, many of her creations reflect her abiding love of music, and that love opened the door to many other interests. “Musicians are all kind of geeks,” Moni says, “and we don’t hide the fact…” In college, she learned American Sign Language, going on to earn an Associate’s degree in the subject. When her youngest son was born deaf, she was all the more motivated to take part in the deaf and hard of hearing community. She’d seen hearing aid art online before, and after a while, she learned to make it herself.

Courtesy of Moni's Blings

Courtesy of Moni’s Blings

“…My youngest son inspired me to start making these as encouragement for him to keep wearing his hearing aids for longer stretches of time.” So she went into business, and Moni’s Blings was born. She keeps the prices low, allowing as many individuals as possible to benefit from her craft, and she kept the themes varied, because she’s a geek. If Disney princesses aren’t quite your speed, you can always consider Batman, Minecraft, or even Lego designs. And if you’re determined to be an adult, there are even some styles for you, including several of Moni’s personal favorites.

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Courtesy of Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms

Hayleigh Scott began designing charms and tube twists when she was a child sitting at her grandmother’s table. Soon, the pictures left the page and joined reality. Scott began selling her creations at various craft fairs and conferences for the deaf and hard of hearing, eventually building a website and an Etsy shop. “I have a few ideas for the new products, but I have not tested them yet,” says Scott. “I am hoping to produce a product line for BAHAs (Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids).  And I would also like to expand my shop to include personalized hearing aid clips that you clip to your clothes and to the tubes of your hearing aids so that they don’t get lost if they fall out.” Even existing designs are a work in progress for Scott: “One of my favorite things that I have learned in having my own business is the idea of production to perfection.  I never would have started my business if I waited until it was perfect.  You have to begin somewhere with a quality product that you continue to improve.”

Her shop features everything from colorful tube twists to Swarovski crystals. And, of course, there is plenty of nerd apparel, including Mockingjay charms, Star Trek insignias, and even Harry Potter house emblems. Other designs from Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Marvel comics are also available.

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Courtesy of Heyleigh’s Cherished Charms

A few weeks ago, my niece began the process of being fitted for a hearing aid. We don’t know if she’ll lose only part of her hearing, or if she’ll go entirely deaf. She, however, is undaunted by the challenge, and is more excited to choose the color of her hearing aids than she is afraid of the implications. I’ve learned a lot from her. On our adventure, we’ve found many enthusiastic deaf and hard of hearing geeks, and I’m eager to begin the process of collecting hearing aid bling, charms, and jewelry to help celebrate the many aspects of my Little Bit.

M. Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.

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