Rex Banks, Au.D. Reg. CASLPO | Doctor of Audiology
Director, Hearing Health, Quality & Knowledge Enterprise
With summertime upon us, we are all spending more time outdoors as well as making plans for summer vacations! That means lots of packing and unpacking, spending time around the water and being outside. But it’s not all fun under the sun – you will also need to contend with some not so pleasant summer issues such as moisture, humidity, sweat and sand. All of which can impact your hearing aid’s performance.
As we gear up for summer and embark upon all the fun, our must have summertime and travel checklist is here to help take care of your hearing aids so they last as long as possible, and you do not miss out on any activities.
When planning your trip, do not forget to make an appointment at your local audiology clinic to get your hearing aids cleaned and ensure they are functioning at their best for your upcoming adventure! If your warranty is about to expire, talk to your audiologist about sending your hearing aids to the manufacturer for one last professional cleaning and maintenance check. And, if you happen to have a back-up pair of hearing aids, take them with you. It is also a good idea to ask your audiologist about virtual care options while you are away or to source local hearing aid clinics at your vacation destination in advance – just in case.
Next, make a list of all your hearing aid related accessories and maintenance supplies that you will need to take with you. For example, if your hearing aid uses traditional batteries, pack enough batteries so that you do not run out of them while on your holiday. And if you use rechargeable hearing aids, do not forget your charger. You do not want to run out of power during your summertime fun time. If you are going out of the country, make sure you take an adaptor so you can charge your hearing aids and other accessories.
Going to a humid destination? If so, you may want to bring a hearing aid dryer with you to make sure your hearing aids stay dry and free of moisture related problems. And of course, do not forget to take your cleaning tools, wax guards and any other maintenance products that you routinely use.
If you purchase travel insurance, verify if it covers losing your hearing aids while on your trip. You will also want to make sure your hearing aids are linked up to your smartphone and have the manufacturer’s app downloaded just in case you need to use the “Find My Hearing Aid” function.
While on the road, pair your hearing aids to the car’s Bluetooth system so you can make/receive phone calls, stream music and hear directions from your GPS. And if you are going to the airport, check to see if the counters have loop systems. If they do, activate your tele-coil to reduce background information while you are having a conversation and checking in with the ticket counter agent.
When going through airport security, you do not have to remove your hearing aids. However, it is a good idea to let the security agent know you are wearing them to avoid any confusion during the screening process. It is recommended that you wear your hearing aids while in the airport and while on the plane to ensure that you hear important announcements and pre-flight safety briefings. Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may want to let the flight attendant know that it may be difficult for you to hear announcements.
When selecting accommodations for your trip, inquire in advance what they provide for people with hearing loss. You will want to know if they have visual fire and smoke alarms installed and other items to make your stay more comfortable such as visual and tactile alerting systems for the door, phone, and alarm clock, as well as closed captioning on the TV.
Water and Hearing Aids
Lounging at the pool, or a day at the beach? Hearing aids should never be submerged in water. Before diving in, take time to remove your hearing aids and put them in a safe, dry place and avoid leaving them exposed to direct sunlight as high levels of heat can damage your hearing aids. Also be aware that small granules of sand could be harmful if they get caught in your hearing aids. It is a good idea to remove your aids before you apply sunscreen, lotion, or spray, as the chemicals could be harmful to them.
Going cycling, hiking, or fishing? Again, be mindful of moisture and bring a clean, dry cloth to wipe down your hearing aids periodically during strenuous activities, ensuring they stay clear of dirt and debris. Hearing aid covers and sweat bands are also great to bring with you to help repel moisture from perspiration and cut down on dust infiltration.
After a busy day in the sunshine or maybe even the rain, remove your hearing aids and clean them with picks, brushes, and a soft dry cloth. Remove the battery and leave the battery door open overnight. If you have a hearing aid dryer, place your hearing aids in it to help them keep dry and free of moisture.
Advocate for Yourself
You will encounter many new people on your travels and as hearing loss is invisible -they won’t know you have a hearing loss. It’s always a good idea to let others know the best way to communicate with you. Being proactive about your communication needs will save time and frustration for everyone.
Canadian Hearing Services is here for you. Don’t let hearing loss or other communication barriers get in your way of enjoying the summer you deserve.