What is the best hearing aid for playing sports?

Whether it is playing rugby, competing in a triathlon or doing a 100 meter sprint. When sport is a big part of your life, you do not want your hearing loss to take you out of the game.

However you do always want to be safe. It could be being able to hear the cars on the road around you or simply being able to listen to your teammates as you take part in the game. Hearing aids could be the answer that you are looking for.

Are there hearing aids that are better for those that live an active lifestyle or are all hearing aids created equally? 

The hearing aid that will be the right fit for you will be a very personal decision. It will be different for everyone. By working with a qualified audiologist they will be able to take your age, degree of hearing loss and lifestyle into account. Helping you find the best one for you. No matter what type of sport you love to take part in. 

What is a hearing aid? 

A hearing aid will not restore your hearing. However, it can help you to lead as normal a life as possible by amplifying the sounds around you.

It has three main components and all of these work together. Sound is picked up through the microphone, this is then converted to sounds waves. The sound waves are then sent to the amplifier where they are boosted. This is then sent to your ear via the speaker.

With advancements in technology, science and medicine, there are now many different types of hearing aids on the market.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

This is probably what most people think of when they hear the word hearing aid.”

It is the largest of the bunch, but is becoming smaller as time goes on. A small plastic case sits behind the ear which is connected to an earmold that sits in the outer portion of the ear. 

Receiver-In-Ear (RIC)

This is similar to a BTE but is smaller.

A small wire connects the hearing aid to a receiver that is within the earmold. 

In-The-Ear (ITE) & In-The-Canal (ITC)

With both of these options the whole hearing aid is one single unit that sits within your outer ear. Although the ITC sits slightly further in. 

Completely-In-Canal (CIC) & Invisible-In-Canal (IIC)

These two types of hearing aid sit in the canal of the ear.

The IIC sits even further in and is invisible. This is a great option for those users where discreteness is their top priority. 

Advantages and disadvantages of the different types of hearing aid

There are of course advantages and disadvantages for every type of hearing aid that is available on the market.

Due to their smaller size the CIC and IIC will not be suitable for those with severe to profound hearing loss. They are also typically more expensive and are not available on the NHS.

However, on the other hand a Behind-The-Ear model is less discrete but typically is able to have more additional features. It is also available on the NHS.

Is there a hearing aid that is better for playing sports? 

There is no right option here and will depend on several factors. When choosing a hearing aid your age and degree of hearing loss will be the most important factors that come into play.

If you lead a very active lifestyle then you may love the option on an IIC due to the fact that you pop it in and do not have to worry about it falling out. However, for someone else, they may get along better with a BTE model. 

All hearing aids come with an International Protection Code (IP). This code indicates how robust it is and how well it will stand up to dust, dirt, moisture and sweat.

The first digit of the code is from 0-6 and this shows how well it protects against dust.

The next and final digit in the code is between 0-9 and shows how well it does against moisture protection.

If you are an avid sport player you need an IP67 or higher. 

Is there anything in particular I should do with my hearing aids when playing sports? 

  • After playing sports you should always clean your hearing aids. BTE’s are particularly vulnerable to moisture such as sweat. 
  • You should get bike helmets professionally fitted. This not only ensures that it is safe, but also to guarantee that it fits correctly with your hearing aids. Ensuring that it does not hinder them in any way. 
  • Hearing aids now come with a variety of added extras. Most of these are available with the larger models. Many sports players prefer having rechargeable batteries to ensure that they are not left being unable to hear in the middle of their exercise. This could be especially dangerous if you are running or riding a bike on the road. Wireless connectivity is also very popular. Allowing you to be able to change program settings and volume from your phone rather than having to touch your hearing aid during your exercise. 
  • There are many accessories on the market now that you can use to help hold your hearing aids in place. Silicone bands are increasingly popular. Not only do they stop your hearing aids from moving but it also takes away the risk of losing them. 

The hearing aid that will be the right fit for you will be a very personal decision. It will be different for everyone. By working with a qualified audiologist they will be able to take your age, degree of hearing loss and lifestyle into account. Helping you find the best one for you. No matter what type of sport you love to take part in. 

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