Rose Ayling-Ellis has made something of a splash recently for her role on the popular TV dance-a-thon Strictly Come Dancing: not only is she the first contestant who is openly deaf, but she also proudly sports her hearing aid throughout her performances.
Indeed, Rose has always been something of a trailblazer, as she was also one of the first openly hard-of-hearing persons to appear on the long-running soap Eastenders. Her role was originally conceived by the deaf journalist and scriptwriter Charlie Swinbourne, who also boasts his own popular deaf-focused blog ‘The Limping Chicken’.
She spoke to BBC news recently about her experiences on the show and the impression that other people have of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community: “It is a common misconception that deaf people can’t enjoy music.
“I have a hearing aid, so I pick up some of the music and I can hear the beat. I can hear someone singing, but I can’t identify exact words. I also feel the vibrations.
“”I will be focusing on reading my partner’s body language plus counting in my head, which will help me with timing. So for me it’s a combination of everything.
“However not all deaf people are the same, every deaf person will have their own unique experience with music.
“I do love music and I can’t wait to be taught how to dance at a professional level for Strictly!”
She faced unexpected difficulties with her role on Strictly yesterday when her hearing aid suddenly broke. Speaking on Instagram, Rose explained that: “This morning my hearing aid broke, but I think it’s because I sweat so much I broke it… So I can’t hear anything at all!”
One should take note from Rose’s experience: although hearing aids can be an extremely useful tool for millions of people, they can be delicate little things. You should always watch out for excess moisture build-up, especially around the receivers (the things that go inside your ear), as these parts are particularly susceptible to damage from sweat or water.
Thankfully, there are a number of products that you can use that will help either prevent damage to your hearing aids. These include:
- Wax Traps
These tiny little helpers can be an invaluable addition to any hearing aid wearer. They are placed on the end of the receiver and are great at preventing excess moisture, water and of course wax from getting into your devices. You can check out some of the options here.
- Dehumidifying Boxes
Perfect for on-the-go, dehumidifier or drying (and often portable charging) boxes are fantastic for if you find yourself caught outside in the rain or are winding down after exercise. Most are simple and easy-to-use, you merely have to place your hearing aids within the boxes, close it up and hey presto – your devices are now being thoroughly dried out. You can find some examples here.
- Drying Capsules
As a cheaper alternative to dehumidifying boxes, it’s also possible to buy specialized tablets that you can then use in a sealed container (generally called a cup). These tablets contain silica crystals, the type that you can often find in packaging to keep things dry.
With these handy tools, hopefully you can avoid Rose’s fortune and keep your hearing aids safe and dry for a long time. We at Hear4U sincerely hope that Rose recovers well and we wish her all the best in Strictly Come Dancing!