By Tara Guastella
Over Thanksgiving this week, many of us will spend time giving thanks with family and friends. Thanksgiving is also unique in that it’s a holiday specifically about food (and not, say, gift-giving or something religious). I can’t wait to devour many traditional Thanksgiving foods (cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie!) because I wait for them all year long. Yet each year I always find myself overeating, including on Thanksgiving leftovers. I can’t resist a cold turkey sandwich with stuffing and mashed sweet potatoes.
After the long Thanksgiving weekend, I force myself back to the gym to burn off those excess calories. But participating in sports and other physical activities can be a challenge for those with hearing loss who use hearing aids or cochlear implants. The potential for moisture damage, losing the device, and sacrificing sound quality can cause many to (happily) skip a good workout.
You can’t use these reasons as excuses, though. Hearing aid manufacturers have boosted technology, styles, and accessories to allow you to take part in your favorite activities.
Waterproof hearing aids (such as the Siemens Aquaris) and cochlear implants (such as the Advanced Bionics Neptune processor) eliminate worry about water damage. Ask your hearing healthcare professional for details. And in case your hearing device is not fully water-resistant, follow these tips for emergency care of water-damaged devices.
If you enjoy an outdoor run or bike ride in the park, wind noise can pose a problem for hearing aid users. The next time you are considering an upgrade, remember that completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids sit deep enough in the ear canal that wind won’t affect it. All hearing aids also have “wind noise reduction” settings which can help reduce noise from wind as well.
There are also accessories that can help keep your hearing aid in place while you are in motion. The waterproof Neoprene Ear Band-It is worn like a traditional sweatband and helps keep any style of hearing aid in place. (It’s also useful for limiting water exposure to the ears—reducing the risk of ear infection, if you or your child is prone to them in water.) You can also choose brightly colored safety cords or clips that attach hearing aids to a piece of clothing and/or to each other or eyeglasses for added security.
Before trying a new activity, always be sure to speak with your hearing healthcare provider so you can make sure your hearing device is up to the task (or learn about one that is). Be sure to ask about the warranty or insurance in case something does happen to your hearing device.