Hiking and Hearing Aids
Do you love the great outdoors?
Enjoying a hike through breath-taking scenery is one of life’s joys. As well as the chance to get away from it all, breath fresh air, and stretch your legs, what adds to the whole experience is the sound of nature. Which can leave the person suffering from hearing loss with something of a dilemma. Should they wear their hearing device while hiking?
The short answer is “Yes;” wear the device so that you can better appreciate the full outdoor experience nature has to offer. However, this may leave you worried about damage to the device from wind, rain or from perspiration. Follow these easy tips to ensure you protect your hearing aids while hiking!
Dealing with Dampness
If you’re hiking and away for several nights at a time then it’s best to take some provision for drying the hearing device at night. Your first line of defence is a soft dry cloth, which you use to absorb moisture from the battery compartment. It’s a good idea to store that cloth in a Ziploc bag, so that it stays dry even if the heavens open and you get soaked.
However, hiking is strenuous physical activity and you’re likely to build up a sweat, which could damage the device even if you do dodge the rain. Obviously if you’re camping then you won’t have electricity to power one of the more sophisticated hearing device dehumidifiers, but you can pack the small tub or jar type that contains desiccating material. Store your device in the jar overnight and improved hearing will be your reward in the morning.
Of course, there is the ever present hazard of rain, so wear a broad brimmed hat to protect the device from downpours. If you're just about to purchase a new device, then speak to your audiologist about water resistant devices, or if not, then you can buy sleeves that slide over the body of a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid to give it some protection from the weather.
Being outdoors means you are exposed to wind which can whistle past the microphone and be quiet disturbing. A headband or bandana made of windproof material can help with this, as it shields the microphone to reduce the whistle.
While on the subjects of microphones, if you are leading a group of hikers, you’ll want to hear what’s going on behind you. Before setting off on your trip have a word with the audiologist to see if they can program the direction of your microphone, so as to pick up noise from behind (rather than in front, which is the usual case.)
Oh yes, one last point. When venturing out into the wilds and camping for several days, remember to pack plenty of spare batteries. You won’t be able to resupply in the wilderness so don’t do everything else right but run out of energy … battery or otherwise.
It’s easy to plan some time for the great outdoors when you have hearing loss. Just be sure to protect your hearing aid from any elements you might come across!