Chances are that you, like the majority of people, are counting down the days until your next vacation. Congratulations! To ensure a safe and fun trip, however, it’s important to be prepared. And we don’t just mean preparing to avoid sunburn and bug bites.
If you do not take the necessary precautions, your sunny day activities could also result in hearing damage or loss. Certain aspects of traveling may also inconvenience hearing aid users. With this in mind, it is crucial to be aware of the risks and some preventative measures before you hit the road.
All Travelers: General Hearing Health Risks
Whether you’re lounging on a beach or exploring a new city, you should be mindful of how the activities you engage in could affect your hearing. For example:
- Spending the day at the pool could take a toll on your ears. A common threat when we spend time in the water is swimmer’s ear. This an infection of the ear canal, caused by water-based bacteria. Symptoms include (often temporary) hearing loss, ear pain, and drainage - although further complications may develop without care. It’s best to avoid this infection entirely, especially when you’re far from home. Preventative measures include wearing earplugs while swimming and promptly drying your ears when they get wet. If you do develop symptoms, contact a local medical professional to obtain proper treatment.
- Fun-filled diversions such as fireworks, jet skis, and boats also pose a threat. Engaging in these activities can expose you to harmful noise levels that may lead to permanent hearing damage. Fireworks can reach dangerous decibel (a unit used to measure sound intensity) levels that are especially damaging. We recommend that you enjoy the light show from a safe distance and avoid the use of store-bought fireworks. Jet ski and boat engines can also be extremely loud and harmful to the ears. Limiting your time spent on them, and wearing earplugs while using them, can lower your risk of hearing damage. Other activities to be mindful of include using headphones and attending concerts.
Hearing Aid Users: Tips for Packing Your Bags
If you use a hearing aid, in addition to the above concerns, you will have to take extra precautions to care for your device(s) while traveling. Consider the following tips for this important itinerary item:
- Don’t forget a charger or spare battery for your device. A battery caddy is a convenient way to store extra batteries while traveling.
- Be mindful of moisture and humidity. Moisture can be extremely detrimental to your hearing aid, as it can cause corrosion of the electronics. This tip is also applicable to sunscreen and insect repellent; so always be sure that hearing aids are completely dry before reinserting them.
- Pack a hearing aid dryer or dehumidifier. If you get a hearing aid wet at the beach or pool, a dryer or dehumidifier can be used to dry and sanitize it. If your device stops working, however, do not fuss with it and contact an audiologist.
- Maintain routine hearing aid cleaning. Don’t take a vacation from your normal cleaning routine; be sure to properly clean your hearing aid on a daily basis. This means packing any cleaning materials is a must.
We’re Here to Help: Contact a Healthcare Professional
Summer vacations should always be a source of relaxation and rejuvenation. By following the above ear care guidelines, our hope is that your adventures create happy memories only. If, however, you have additional questions (or if your hearing aid takes an accidental dip in the pool!), we are also available to assist you.
Need help from an audiologist? Let us know! You can request an appointment from us online or contact us at 412-123-3456. We offer a number of services that can help following your summer trips, including diagnostic evaluations, hearing aid repair, and ear cleaning. Our hearing care specialists promise to provide you with the support and solutions you need this season!