Ever felt like you are alone, even when you’re in a crowd?
This is how a sportsman with hearing loss feels in the middle of a running club, if he decides not to wear his hearing device. This is a tough call to make, because wearing a hearing aid while taking part in vigorous exercise risks it getting damaged, but don’t wear it and you can’t hear what’s going on. This means missing out on banter between your friends. Or if you play a team game then you won’t hear team instructions or might miss the referee’s whistle.
If you opt to wear the device, there may be a risk of it falling off and getting damaged. Or if you build up a sweat this moisture can interfere with the functioning of the device. This being the case, what options do you have to hear while exercising?
When choosing a new hearing aid for an active lifestyle, discuss your needs with the audiologist. There are different styles of hearing device and you may wish to consider a change from a behind-the-ear (BTE) device and opt for a receiver-in-the-ear (RIC) or a completely-in-the-canal (CIC) type. The latter two types are partly or wholly within the ear canal itself and can give the device a degree of protection from being dislodged.
Alternatively, if you like the open canal feeling of a BTE device, then your audiologist can make sure it is a good, secure fit. Also consider wearing a headband that fits over the device so that you have a degree of security keeping it in place.
Another factor to consider when exercising is perspiration. Condensation can build up and block the tubes, meaning sound is deadened. Also moisture does the delicate circuitry in a modern hearing device no favors, as it will eventually cause corrosion and degrade the device’s ability to function.
If you are choosing a new hearing device, then consider a water-resistant or waterproof model. The former have a good tolerance of humidity and perspiration, although they should not be immersed in water (so not suitable for swimmers), while waterproof models are suitable to wear in a shower or the pool.
For a regular, non-waterproof device that is functioning well and you don’t yet want to replace, then a simple waterproof sleeve that slips over the body of a BTE device, may prove a useful compromise.
With an existing device, be aware of the risk of condensation causing damage. Check the tubes daily and dry them out as soon as moisture accumulates. When you remove the device at the end of each day, remove the battery and blot the battery housing dry. Better still, store the hearing aid overnight in a dehumidifier so as to thoroughly eliminate moisture.
Remember, you do have options when it comes to hearing devices for active lifestyles and your audiologist will be happy to advise you.