When my second daughter was diagnosed with hearing loss, I had no idea the crazy adventure ahead of us. All I knew was, I had made lots of baby headbands for both of my girls, and I was happy that my little Baldilocks would be wearing headbands always.
Keep in mind, my husband has Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS) and wears a Baha hearing aid. At our 20 week ultrasound, our second daughter was diagnosed with TCS, which included the possibility of hearing loss. Finding out she needed a hearing aid, was not the huge shock that most other families might experience. So I bounced back quickly, and happily began adapting headbands to hold her hearing aid.
I am creative, so I find it is simple to make a softband for BAHA. The hearing aid snaps onto the Forwerd Button Block which fits inside the o-ring on the softband. That part is easy. It is the freaking O-ring that posed such a huge challenge.
I was advised, “look on Amazon or the pluming department of the hardware store” and “buy 10mm or 12mm or 1/2 size.” Sounds simple, right? Like, any of those sizes will work just fine.
I purchased clear o-rings from a few different places, and ended up with different sizes of various qualities. I felt like Goldilocks. This one is too big. This one is too stretchy. Fortunately, of those o-rings I had ordered, one of them seemed to be perfect. So that is the brand I used.
Life would have been simple, if I had stopped right there.
But, after starting an Etsy shop to sell softbands for BAHAs, I decided that black softbands would look nicer with black o-rings rather than clear ones. So I ordered some black o-rings. They were perfect! The right size, with just the right amount of stretchiness to fit over the Button Block, and still hold it snug. I fell in love!
I want to offer the best quality products to my customers. So I could no longer continue using those clear o-rings, once I discovered black o-rings were so much better! But surely there are clear o-rings which are as perfect as these black ones I had found?
The quest for the perfect clear o-ring opened pandora’s box.
I ordered the same size o-rings from various suppliers and received completely different sizes. Doesn’t everyone use the same ruler to measure?
I have figured out, sizes vary depending on if you’re measuring the inside diameter, or the outside diameter, or maybe half way in-between? Which diameter am I supposed to be measuring? I don’t really know. It depends on if you are ordering o-rings for pluming, or for gages in your ears, or stitch markers for knitting, which seems to have a completely different sizing system. Not to mention different o-rings have different thicknesses and varying stretchiness.
Frustrated by the ridiculousness, I gave up on my search for clear o-rings and found white o-rings which work great! That way I can use black o-rings on the dark softbands and white on the light softbands. But what about the hot pink softbands? I want to make softbands which ascetically pleasing. I am OCD about using matching thread color, so I need matching o-rings too! So the quest continued.
I found a whole collection of colorful o-rings! I really did not want to go that route, because that means keeping inventorying on an additional 12 items, on top of 300 prints of elastic, envelopes, business cards etc. After testing them, I discovered some colors are more fragile than others and end up breaking. Other colors get stretched out over time and no longer hold the Button Block snuggly.
In my continued quest for clear o-rings, I branched out and tried rubber o-rings, glow-in-the-dark, PEVA, and several other acronyms I don’t remember anymore. They were all too small and not stretchy enough, or too big and too stretchy. One of them was the perfect size, but left white dust behind. What the heck? The supplier recommend using lotion to moisten the o-ring. Yeah, like I’m going to use lotion on a toddler’s headbands? No thank you.
At long last, I found clear o-rings which I love. But I had only ordered the smallest quantity possible, because I wanted to see them and have a chance to test them out. Once confirming, that I have indeed found perfection, I placed an order for a large quantity.
Again, life would be simple if the story ended right there. But no. That order still has not made it to my mailbox. USPS tracking says it arrived in town 3 weeks ago. So I spent the past 2 week harassing the local Post Offices trying to find it. Our town has at least 3 post offices that I know of. And none of them can find my lost o-rings. So I placed another order for an even larger quantity of o-rings. Because if they actually make it to me, I do not want to need to order these again any time soon.
All thats to say, who knew that o-rings could be so complicated?