If you think that hearing loss means you can’t participate in sports, think again! In fact, even one of the brightest stars of the WNBA, Tamika Catchings, was born hard of hearing. In addition to winning four Olympic gold medals, she won Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year multiple times over her 15-year career.
But even if you’re not training for the Olympics, if athletics are a part of your life it’s good to know that you can still participate in them even while wearing your hearing aids.
TALK TO US ABOUT YOUR EXERCISE OR SPORT
If you’re getting a hearing test, we will ask questions about your lifestyle and activities in order to get a sense of which hearing aids might be best for you. Let us know what kinds of exercise or sports you do. Hearing aids that fit into the ear canal will be more protected from the elements, while behind-the-ear models can be secured to clothing in the event they get jostled off of your ears. Which type is best for you will depend on what you’re doing and where you’re doing it.
If you are a serious, regular athlete, hearing aids are available specifically for the purpose. Some models have windscreens to cut down on the irritating noise that can happen when you’re moving fast through the air and your microphone is physically blown by the wind. Some are even waterproof, dust-proof and shockproof.
AVOID AND REMOVE MOISTURE
The greatest enemy of the hearing aid is moisture, and most of us tend to get pretty sweaty when we exercise. If you’re a swimmer, exercise a lot in the heat, or if you generally perspire a good deal, water resistant hearing aids could be your best option. It’s also helpful to try to keep sweat and moisture away from your hearing aids with a headband, and be sure to wipe them dry immediately after exercising.
If you’re participating in sports on a regular basis, you should also invest in a hearing aid dehumidifier. At night when you remove your hearing aids, wipe them down, remove the batteries, and place the hearing aids in the dehumidifier. While wiping away moisture from the surface and battery compartment is important, that doesn’t remove the moisture that has worked its way into the sensitive electronics inside the hearing aid. The dehumidifier will make sure that your hearing aids are thoroughly dry, inside and out.
CONSIDER LEAVING YOUR HEARING AIDS OFF THE FIELD
Maybe you choose not to wear your hearing aids at all when you play. This might make sense for some sports. Whatever you decide, make sure to let your teammates know what you’re up to. If you’re wearing hearing aids, they should be aware that you might have cords near your ears; and if you’re not wearing hearing aids, they should be aware that you might need some extra support with auditory cues.
ALWAYS WEAR HEARING AIDS WHEN SAFETY IS A CONCERN
Some athletic activities really shouldn’t be undertaken without your hearing aids, though. If you’re a runner or bicyclist, you’ll need to share the path or the road with other fast-moving people or vehicles. If you can’t hear warning signs, you could be in trouble.
This brings up another concern, which is wearing protective equipment with hearing aids. Helmets for bicycling, football, or any other sport will need to have the space to accommodate your hearing aids without sacrificing protection. You may need to consider a “dial fit” or “rack and pinion” type of helmet. Experts stress that you should never, ever modify a helmet on your own so that your hearing aids will fit inside. This can compromise the protective features of the helmet.
One cool feature that lots of modern hearing aids offer is Bluetooth connectivity. If you go to the gym, run or bike on a regular basis, you’ll appreciate being able to play your music from your phone directly into your hearing aids.
Whatever your sport, you’ll find there are excellent hearing aid options available. If you haven’t yet scheduled an appointment with our team, do it today and see what hearing aids can do for your life, and your game!