Due to remarkable advancements in hearing aids, hearing loss no longer needs to slow anyone down, and for the most part, that’s true regardless of your age or the reasons behind your hearing loss.
That being said, summertime can present a few challenges to the hearing-aid wearer that those of the easily hearing set don’t need to worry about at all. Whether you’re a water bug or a hot weather jet setter, here are some tips to help you partake in all the summer activities available while keeping your hearing aids sound as a pound.
Keep an Eye on the Temperature
High temperatures can wreak havoc on your hearing aids. The plastic exterior can melt from too much direct sunlight or overly warm conditions — like being left in a hot car — and even slight rises in temperature can affect hearing aid performance.
The batteries in your hearing aid are very sensitive to heat, and while avoiding hot temperatures is nearly impossible during the summer, be sure to store your hearing aids in a cool, dry place whenever you aren’t using them.
Waterproof or Water-Resistant?
We all know that water-resistant isn’t the same thing as waterproof, but do you know the detailed specifics regarding just how much moisture your hearing aid can and can’t handle?
Water-resistant hearing aids will keep working when you work up a sweat in your garden, but they can’t continue to function if you wear them while snorkeling off the coast of Aruba.
Waterproof hearing aids are IP68 certified, which means their construction will keep them safe from damage even when they’re totally submerged in liquid. If you don’t currently have waterproof hearing aids, but your lifestyle could benefit from them, talk to a qualified audiologist of a team of audiologists.
Travel With Extras
If you’re planning on doing any traveling during the summer, be sure to pack extra hearing aid accouterments to ensure you don’t miss out on anything during your vacation. Bring extra batteries and an extra charger. Pack extra tubes and filters. Leave that extra pair of shoes at home so you can be sure to fit in your dryer and cleaning equipment.
Before you leave, look up the name and number of a hearing aid service provider where you are going so that if anything goes wrong, you can quickly right it, and be sure to take along a storage case so everything hearing-related can stay safe, dry and easily found throughout your trip.
Talk to TSA
Airport metal detectors have been known to go bananas over a hearing aid. To pre-empt the panic or confusion, tell the TSA agent that you wear hearing aids before you go through the detector. You can also give the agent a TSA Notification Card just in case she isn’t up to speed on hearing aid protocol. Thankfully, scanning does not damage hearing aids, and the FAA’s command that you turn off all electronics at the beginning of a flight doesn’t apply to hearing aids.
Keep Moisture at Bay
Moisture can wreak havoc on a hearing aid’s small, delicate componentry, and summer is filled with opportunities for moisture buildup. Make use of a microfiber cloth to help combat moisture, and make use of a dehumidifier if you live in a particularly humid region.
Especially if your hearing aids aren’t resistant to water or waterproof, be sure to wipe them down regularly, and unless you’re 100 percent certain that your aids are waterproof, always remove them before taking a swim in the lake, ocean, or kiddie pool.
While it isn’t that fun to think about, being aware of the potential for bacteria growth on your hearing aids will help you keep them clean and well-functioning. The humidity that is common during the summer months provides ideal breeding conditions for bacteria and fungi on and in your hearing aids, so it’s best to make use of antimicrobial products regularly.
Hearing-aid disinfectant towelettes are easy to carry and quick to use, and for the most part, they work great. If you have any questions or concerns about the best way to keep your hearing aids microbe and bacteria-free, be sure to ask your audiologist.
Be Mindful of Sun Block
Summer often requires sunblock, and while it will keep you and your skin safe, it has deleterious effects on hearing aids. The oils and ingredients in sunscreen can cause considerable wear and tear to hearing aid vents, microphones, and tubing. Anytime you apply it, take extra care to ensure that no sunblock gets on or near your hearing aids.
So, head to the beach and bask in the sun. As long as you take these precautions, there’s no reason why your hearing aids, and you can’t have a perfectly delightful summer and live to brag about it.