8 Tips for Hiking With Hearing Loss

Hiking in West Virginia

Hiking is Accessible to All

Hiking is a popular outdoor activity that offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and get some exercise. However, for those with hearing loss, it can present unique challenges. The sounds of nature can be tough to hear, making it harder to stay aware of your surroundings and communicate on the trail. 

But fear not, hiking with hearing loss is not impossible! In fact, with a few tips and tricks, it can be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. In this article, we’ll provide you with valuable advice on how to make the most of your hiking experience while dealing with hearing loss.

How to Hike with Hearing Aids

To start, we will cover a few tips for hikers with hearing aids. Hearing aids can come with their own set of problems, but they can be easily lessened with some forethought!

Hearing Aid Care to Keep Your Device Safe

Keep Moisture at Bay

When hiking, it’s common to work up a sweat, which is not the best friend of your hearing aid. Therefore, it’s crucial to take steps to protect it. One solution is to wear a sweatband around your head or neck to absorb sweat and prevent it from reaching your device. Better yet, if you’re an avid hiker, invest in a waterproof hearing aid cover.

Not only is there sweat, but there can be rain! Keeping the elements away from your aid can be done with a hat or water-repellent jacket that directs water away from your ear.

Lastly, if you are on a long trip you want to do your best to dry out your hearing aid at night. You can keep a dry cloth in a zip-lock bag to dry off your device each night. Furthermore, the device can be dehumidified with a jar full of desiccating materials. Each night after drying off the device you can place them in the jar to fully remove the moisture!  

Protect your Hearing Aid from UV Rays

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause damage to your hearing aid’s plastic components. Wearing a hat can shield your device (and face!) from the damaging rays of the sun. It’s also a good practice to keep your device in a protective case when it’s not in use. Bonus points if you invest in a UV-resistant case!

Hearing Aid Loss Prevention

Losing your hearing aid while hiking can be frustrating and potentially costly. To prevent this, you could consider investing in a retention cord that keeps your device attached to your clothing or gear, so you have one less thing to think about. Additionally, always check your device before leaving a rest area or taking off your backpack.

Watch Out For Dying Batteries

If you’re planning a long hike, it’s important to pack extra batteries to ensure that your device stays functional throughout the journey. You’ll likely not have access to electricity, so you’ll have to stock up to compensate. Be sure to check the batteries’ expiration dates before heading out and pack them in a waterproof container to protect them from any water

Safety Precautions for Hiking Hearing Impaired

When you rely more on the visual cues of your environment, there are a few ways to make keeping yourself safe on the trail easy! 

Going Over Hazards Early On

Before embarking on your hike, take some time to research the trail and identify any potential hazards. This can include steep inclines, rocky terrain, or areas prone to wildlife encounters. Knowing what you have ahead of you can give you peace of mind. It decreases the chance of miscommunication with other hikers in the group and it helps you prepare to avoid dangerous situations during the hike that could’ve been avoided.

A Little Rear-View Mirror for Solo Hiking

If you’re hiking alone, consider investing in a small, lightweight rear-view mirror that attaches to your backpack. Without hearing cues, you can rely on the mirror to have your back, literally. This can help you stay aware of your surroundings and any potential threats that may be behind you. Like bikers trying to pass on the trail!

Staying Connected While on the Trail

A few expectations can be set to have the smoothest communication while you’re on the hike. It’s also best to plan for some backup methods!

Be Open If You Can

If you’re hiking with a group, be open about your hearing loss and any communication needs you may have. This can help your hiking companions understand how to communicate with you effectively and ensure that you don’t miss any critical information. For example, if you have a good ear, share that you need to walk on their right side to communicate properly. Or, if you’re hiking at night, where to point the flashlight so everyone can understand each other clearly. PSA: Don’t flash someone in the eyes!

Waterproof Paper and Pen

In case you need to communicate with someone outside your hiking group, consider carrying waterproof paper and a pen. This can be useful if you need to leave a note for park rangers or if you encounter someone who doesn’t speak your language. It also saves on precious phone battery – or let you ditch the phone altogether and enjoy uninterrupted nature.

Hiking while hearing impaired IS possible.

In conclusion, hiking with hearing loss is completely plausible and worth that little bit of extra care! By following the tips in this article, you can ensure that you can protect yourself and your hearing aid while out on the trail. Hopefully, you have also found some useful tips to effectively communicate with your hiking companions or other passers-by on the trail.

Don’t let hearing loss keep you from enjoying the great outdoors and all it has to offer. So lace up your boots and get ready to hit the trails this summer!