Every summer, we write about how to protect your hearing and your hearing aids while outdoors, in the heat, or on vacation. This year we decided to do something a little different. After a couple protection tips, we get into the benefits of summer, and how the season can help improve your hearing health.
How to Protect Your Hearing
1. Swimmer’s ear can often lead to ear infections, caused by trapped water in the ear canal. If you notice water in your ear that’s not going away on its own, use over-the-counter ear drops to reduce moisture. If you’re already experiencing pain or discharge, a visit to the doctor is recommended.
2. Summer months often mean vacation, air travel, and unfortunately, airplane ear. Also called barotitis media, airplane ear is ear pain and a stuffed-up feeling due to the change in air pressure during the plane’s ascent and descent. Yawning, blowing your nose, swallowing, or chewing gum can help.
3. Be aware of how loud summer activities are, and how little it can take to damage your hearing. Do yourself a favor and get a phone app that monitors the sound levels around you. Many are free. You can find more info on our previous blog, Surprising Levels of Everyday Sounds.
How to Protect Your Hearing Aids
1. Do not keep your hearing aids in direct heat or sunlight (e.g., dashboard in your car).
2. Use hearing aid dehumidifiers to reduce moisture damage.
3. If going to the beach, protect your aid by putting it in a ziplock bag with a desiccant. If applying suntan lotion, be sure any doesn’t get on your device.
4. Always open the battery door at night, especially when it’s hot and humid. Humidity can have a devastating effect on your hearing device.
How the Summer Can Help You Hear
Summer is a great time to socialize with others, and if you’re a regular reader of these blogs, you know what we’re about to say — socialization is brain training and a crucial part of maintaining hearing health and wellness.
Check out some hard of hearing community events. The Hearing Loss Association of America, for example, promotes accessible theater groups that use assistive listening devices — such as captioned performances — for the hard of hearing.
Most importantly, have fun! Use the time to learn about all the hearing aids and technology you might not know about. Take advantage of the nice weather to experiment with ideal sound environments. Enjoy the improved communication skills offered by today’s devices. All of this is in the best interest of your cognitive and emotional well-being.