Hearing loss and exercise

Hearing loss and exercise

Initially, it doesn’t seem like hearing loss would have any impact on someone’s physical fitness, but I’m curious to know if others find that they’re less inclined to exercise because of deafness or wearing a hearing aid.

For me, as you know from my strangely specific quest of finding a waterproof hearing aid, I’d love to be able to swim and hear, especially for safety purposes like lifeguard announcements, but also just to be more comfortable in a group setting at the pool, or swimming lanes for exercise. I feel pretty discouraged by swimming as exercise.

In 2015, I decided to do the Couch to 5K program, and signed up for a Halloween 5K as my goal. (And may I just brag, I won the bronze in my age group, but I should probably tell you there were only 5 women in the 20-29 bracket…)

But, I did have to do several things differently to train for this 5K, and if I hadn’t been as determined as I was, I can see how I would have felt discouraged by the limitations of my hearing aid.

Firstly, I wanted to listen to my 5K app prompts for walking/running and to hear my mile splits. And listen to music too! But I can’t wear in-ear buds and over the ear headphones are way too cumbersome to run in. What I did was I used a T-coil hook, which worked well, but I still wasn’t ever totally comfortable cutting out all surrounding noise like cars or other people, so I’d switch off telecoil whenever I was crossing a road or anything. Furthermore, it didn’t always stay put in the best spot behind my ear, which sometimes led to a rapid bobbing of audio coming in and out as I ran… not ideal, but it worked.

The next issue was sweat, especially since I had started my training in the summer. My new aid seems to be pretty moisture-resistant, but I had to be a lot more careful with my previous one. I found that wearing the T-coil hook kept the aid off my head enough, and since it was only a 5K, I wasn’t sweating for too long before I could remove it and wipe it down.

Now that I’m 6 months postpartum, I’m thinking about these things again and might revisit what accessories I use.

Do you feel like there’s anything that keeps you from your fitness goals?



  1. I find your perspective on swimming interesting. I have severe to profound hearing loss on both sides and I am much more comfortable swimming laps than on the track or in the gym. I find that people always want to chat while you are resting between sets or while running/walking and my gym is too noisy most the time for me to be comfortable conversing in such a tough listening environment. I love hopping in the pool and not worrying about people talking to me since I’m mostly under the water anyway. That being said, I am not comfortable swimming with my kids since I have to take out my hearing aids. That makes me incredibly sad since I was a swimmer and a lifeguard and I want to pass on my love of water to my wee ones.

    1. Author

      This is a really neat perspective, thanks!! I never considered the social aspect of swimming laps. And yes, my son will be 1 this year and while the baby pool won’t be a real big challenge, I want to be able to swim with him as he gets older.

  2. I’ve been severely HoH since 5 years old, but have remained active into my late 30s.

    Re: sweat I’d also suggest getting one of the Nike Dry Fit pro-combat skull caps. (For women, I’m pretty sure Nike makes a similar headband.) The moisture wicking fabric is amazing and will keep your hearing aids from dying and being destroyed by sweat. If you play a more contact sport (I play soccer), you can also tuck the aids in so they’re less likely to be knocked off your head. A do-rag would probably work just as well. It’s been a game changer for fitness.

    I also loved the music-link for music. But i can’t seem to find someone to sell it to me. Tecear is no longer in business. If you find an alternative, let me know! If you have your audiologist set up your aid for a t-coil / mic mix, you can still hear cars and people when you need to. I have both a t-coil only setting AND a mix, so i’m good for either situation.

    No advice on swimming though. As a kid, my best friend shouted in my ear. And as an adult, i actually learned ASL with my wife to feel more confident in the pool.

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