Tips to summerproof your hearing aid
Relax, it’s summertime – or maybe not! According to a recent study by American Express, Americans will spend upwards of $16.6 billion on activities this summer, including summer camps, day trips to popular theme parks, road trips and pool memberships. So whether you’re packing your bags to head to the seashore or just to the local gym, don’t forget to "summerproof "your hearing aids. With a little bit of time and a small investment, you can keep your hearing devices working effectively no matter where your wanderlust leads you.
In the water
If you spend a lot of time in and around the water on a daily basis, chances are you’ve already taken the necessary precautions to protect your hearing instruments. Today’s hearing aid manufacturers make a variety of waterproof devices and water-resistant covers to help guard your investment against water damage.
- Waterproof hearing aids: These devices have completely sealed housings and battery doors to guard against damage during total immersion. Custom made earmolds are more comfortable, especially for swimmers or other individuals who work or play in the water. Look for an International Protection Marking (IP code) of 7 or higher – or simply ask your hearing healthcare professional to recommend a device appropriate for your lifestyle.
- Water-resistant hearing aids: If you live in a humid climate or are prone to excessive sweating, your hearing healthcare professional may have already prescribed water-resistant hearing aids for your use. Unlike their waterproof relatives, these devices are not protected against total submersion; however, will most likely survive an accidental jump in the shower or splash from an over-zealous grandchild.
If water, perspiration and humidity are three things you only encounter during the summer – and then only occasionally -- consider investing in some inexpensive water-resistant covers. And, since accidents do happen, here are a few tips for keeping water out of your hearing aid any season of the year:
- Wipe them down. Every night before you go to bed, take the batteries out and wipe them off with a dry, dust-free cloth. This cleans away excess dust and moisture, preventing it from entering and damaging your device.
- Open the battery door. Now that everything is clean and dry, keep the battery door open until the following morning. Don’t forget to put the batteries in a safe place, away from small fingers and curious pets. This allows air to circulate through your device and dry any moisture that may have been trapped there while you were wearing it.
- Invest in a dehumidifier. This inexpensive piece of equipment is a convenient place to store and dry your hearing aid. These devices cost anywhere from $5 to $100 and can be found in your local drugstore, online or at various hearing centers.
On the trail
Whether your adventurous spirit compels you to fire up your motorcycle or don a backpack and hike your favorite trail, make sure the proper protection for your hearing devices is part of your preparation. Dust and other debris can clog the microphone and tubing, leading to performance problems and possible permanent damage. So, before you hit the road, ask your hearing healthcare professional about the best option for protecting your hearing device.
- Wind and weather protectors are small filters that slip into your hearing aid as an added buffer for wind, rain and other obstacles you may encounter outdoors. They also come with a tool to assist in replacing the filters.
- Hearing aid sleeves for behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) not only protect the hearing aid from perspiration, dust and other debris, but may also make your hearing device more comfortable to wear. These inexpensive accessories can be found online or ask your hearing healthcare professional for specific recommendations.
On the court and field
Playing sport of any type is an exercise in constant motion. If your court time activities heat up during the summer months, make sure your hearing devices stay securely in place.
- Sport clips attach directly to your hearing aid and keep it secure with a wire or plastic piece that fits around your ear. Contact your hearing aid manufacturer or hearing healthcare professional to find a clip that works with your device.
- Sport necklaces clip onto the hearing aid and fit around the back of your head. Some also include a clip which attaches to the back of your shirt for added security.
- Sweat bands are much like hearing aid sleeves, only more suited for sports-related activities. The absorbent cloth sleeves fit over the hearing aid without compromising sound quality.
Before you go …
It’s worth repeating that it’s best to schedule a visit with your hearing healthcare professional before heading out on vacation or starting any new recreational activity. Not only can they adjust your hearing devices to fit your active lifestyle, they can also recommend the proper accessories to keep your hearing aids functioning effectively for as long as possible.
Don’t have a hearing healthcare professional? Let us help! Visit Healthy Hearing’s online hearing directory to find a trusted professional, hearing center or ear doctor in your community.