Unfortunately, and especially with our current mask-wearing rules, hearing aids sometimes get lost. They might fall off while you’re exercising, catch on your mask as you remove it, or even just slip out if they don’t fit perfectly. For this reason, we recommend that all hearing aid wearers insure their hearing aids against loss and damage- they are very small and can be hard to find if they get lost! However, this doesn’t mean they never get found. On occasion, someone will pick up a lonely hearing aid! So, what should you do if you find a hearing aid?
You’ve done a great thing. Spotting a tiny hearing aid, that is designed to be as discrete and invisible as possible, is no easy feat. Pop it in a bag or box for safekeeping in the meantime. By the time you’ve found it, the battery has probably died, but if not the aid may whistle or screech. If that’s happening, carefully open the battery door just a crack to disengage it and keep it quiet.
Hearing aids are medical devices. They are registered with serial numbers to individual people. As much as you might think that ‘finders keepers’ applies, it doesn’t! That hearing aid belongs to someone who really needs it. It is set up and programmed for their ear and their hearing. You can’t take it and use it for yourself, or gift it to someone you know. You certainly cannot sell it! The hearing aid must get back to the person who lost it. But how can you tell who it belongs to?
Take it to an Audiologist
Is there an audiologist in the area? Chances are they either fitted that hearing aid or work with the same manufacturer. As mentioned above, hearing aids have unique model names and serial numbers that are linked to the patient and the practice that fitted them. Take the hearing aid to your nearest audiologist. They will be able to track the serial number and identify which practice fitted that aid, and that practice will be able to return the aid to the person who owns it. Even if the audiologist doesn’t work with that specific brand, they should still be able to track down where it came from so that it can be returned to its rightful owner.
Can I return it myself?
Unfortunately, because hearing aids are medical devices and audiologists are healthcare professionals, they will not be able to tell you who the hearing aid belongs to. Audiologists are bound by the same ethical and confidentiality laws that other healthcare professionals are, which means that the identity of the owner of the hearing aid may not be revealed to you without their permission. As such, your identity cannot be revealed to them without your permission. If you would really like to make contact with the owner of the hearing aid, you may leave your contact details with the audiologist when you drop off the hearing aid, but there are no guarantees that the person will reach out to you. You can be sure, however, that they will be extremely grateful to you for finding their hearing aid!
So what should I do if I find a hearing aid?
If you pick up someone’s hearing aid, please take it to an audiologist as soon as possible. Remember that the person who has lost it probably really relies on it for effective communication, so the sooner they can get it back, the better. You can be sure that they will be extremely relieved to get it back, and will always remember that a good Samaritan took the time to return it.
If you have any questions about lost and found hearing aids, please contact us, or comment below.