If you’re an active athlete and use a hearing device, there are some basic issues to be aware of and a few models on the market that may be the best option for your lifestyle.
First, some general tips about hearing devices and athletics.
If you’re playing a contact sport — rugby, football, even basketball — you should probably be wearing a head guard or helmet of some kind. This will not only protect your hearing device and keep it in place, but will also protect other players who may get injured by coming into contact with your hearing device as part of a collision.
Depending on what type of hearing device you use, a good fitting earmold is important. A well-fitted unit made of a softer, more flexible material will flex and deal with movement and jarring better.
Finally, moisture from sweat makes cleaning and thoroughly drying out your hearing device even more important than it would be otherwise. Have a good routine in place for maintaining your device and if you’re being active in rainy conditions and have a larger BTE (behind-the-ear) model then experiment with loosely covering your hearing aid with a plastic. But ensure that there’s enough “breathing space” so that there’s airflow around the unit.
As to specific brands of hearing that might be best for an athlete, here are three:
The Lyric by Phonak is one of the smallest hearing aids on the market and can be worn for up to four months without being removed from your ear. Instead of being a unit that is regularly maintained for a long tour of duty, it is replaced in its entirety periodically by your Hearing Professional. This makes it a good choice for athletes, though it is not completely waterproof, so for active swimmers it is not advisable (though it is water resistant and can stand up to showering).
The Aquaris by Siemens is a fully waterproof hearing aid that is also dust and shockproof. It’s a rugged unit that can withstand long immersion in water and can take a licking and keep on with the proverbial ticking. The former NFL player Reed Doughty wore this unit during his playing days.
Finally, Widex’s Fusion and Super models offer their unique wind protection microphone covers. These are designed to cut down on the annoying background noise that can occur in windy conditions. This feature is especially suited to golf, cycling, sailing, and other activities where wind is part of the environment.