With winter on its way, winter sports lovers are getting ready for their new adventures on the slopes. These sports should be enjoyed by all, but for hearing aids users – devices and snow do not always mix well.
Luckily, we now live in an age of advanced hearing aid technology and clever inventions that have made it easier for those with hearing loss to enjoy these types of holidays. A sky-scraping step from the days of skiing without hearing aids and exposing yourself to all sorts of danger.
Communication with those around you and being aware of your surroundings is vital to stay safe and get the most out of your trip. Partaking in winter sports without your hearing aids could cause a serious injury. Hearing your soundscape is imperative when you are moving within nature.
Everything continuously changes – both landscape and weather. Voices, snow movement, weather shifts and ice cracking are all usually the warnings before an accident occurs. On the other hand, taking your hearing aids with you can bring you other troubles – like losing or damaging them. So, what should you do for the best? Here are a few things you need to know before you travel that might help.
The cold can be detrimental for hearing aids and can rapidly drain energy from zinc-air batteries. The cold dry air decreases the voltage, so they run out of battery at great speed. Always ensure you pack extra batteries and store them in a warm and dry place. Alternatively, you might want to think about investing in Lithium-Ion batteries.
Lithium-Ion batteries are rechargeable, so you can have a full day’s charge throughout your trip. We think that investing in this type of battery will be a practical and cost-effective switch. If winter sports breaks are going to be a regular trip for you – then maybe your next hearing aid should reflect your lifestyle more. All the options can be discovered and discussed at your next appointment or call our audiologists for some expert advice.
This is another challenge for hearing aid users in cold climates. When you wear glasses and enter a cold atmosphere, the lenses fog up. The same happens to hear aids when the environment changes from warm to cold. Moisture damage can happen if your hearing aids are exposed to changes in temperature for long periods of time.
The hearing aids sound can weaken, crackle, cause static or even stop working. To avoid this from happening there are a few drying kits available, which will take away moisture. We recommend finding a kit that is small and light enough for your suitcase.
Try to regularly open your hearing aid's battery compartment and wipe down inside with a cotton wool ball or cloth. Afterwards, leave open to dry and allow air to circulate. We would also advise taking your hearing aids to your audiologist who will check for any damage and fix any issues.
There are some great hearing aid dehumidifiers out there that are compact and easy to use. They come highly recommended by our patients who seem to like the no-fuss concept. They use them overnight to take away any excess moisture, while they sleep, so they are good to go in the morning.
It is never a nice experience when you lose your hearing aids – but losing your hearing aids in the snow is far worse. The chances of finding them are slim and if you do the water damage can be significant. Always invest in protective gear and clothing.
There are plenty of 'ear-gear' options that can keep your hearing aids in place and reduce the risk of losing them. They have sleeves and cords that protect them from sweat and moisture and feature neck cords to hold your hearing aids in place - just in case they fall out.
There are also skiing helmets designed for hearing aid users on the market that keep your devices safe. Wearing sweatbands and breathable hats can also help absorb sweat and keep your hearing aids secure.
Whilst older hearing aid models are not as flexible to manage, the new technology available today makes travel and atmospheric transitions ‘doable’. If you are looking to upgrade or replace your existing hearing aids, then focus on ones that are for active lifestyles. Models that are designed for people on-the-go, who love sports and want comfort and rechargeability.
Hearing aids that have high resistance to humidity, spray and condensation would be ideal – but ask your audiologist to go through the models that would suit. Remember that the most important criteria for your new hearing aids have to be based on your individual hearing loss needs first.
Read Next: Hearing Aid Maintenance From Our Experts
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is new to the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.