By Anita Stein-Meyers, Au.D. CCC-A, Assistant Director CHC’s Shelley and Steven Einhorn Audiology Center
Anita Stein-Meyers, AuD, CCC-A
When it’s cold outside, my clients often ask me, “Can I put a hat over my hearing aids or cochlear implants?”
Absolutely! You don’t need to choose between keeping your hearing devices on or staying warm. We can surely do both! Covering your head and ears can actually protect your hearing devices from cold and moisture.
Sometimes creativity is needed. Think of it as a chance to play around with different winter fashions, from headbands to hats to hoodies and hearing accessories such as fabric covers.
If you or your child are participating in activities where your devices will likely get wet, it’s always a good idea to remove them, if safe to do so.
Hearing tech tips for winter weather
Here are additional pointers that I hope you find helpful:
Batteries – Batteries may drain more quickly in very cold weather, so be mindful to have spare batteries with you. Plan ahead knowing you’ll need to change batteries or recharge a bit more frequently.
Fabric Covers – Consider using a fabric cover over your devices. Ear Gear makes accessories that have cords to attach to clothing to protect from loss.
Retention Device – You can even use a more basic retention device to ensure your devices stay attached and do not fall off when removing your winter gear. Some devices are standard such as those found here Adcohearing.com; some can be homemade and reflect your creativity. If you are not handy, consider shopping on Etsy.com and search for options that will work for you.
Addressing Feedback – If feedback is a challenge, consider headbands that fit over ears and not your hearing devices, or choose a softer or crochet-style hat that allows for a less tight fit. You may want to sew a pouch or make a slit to allow your device to fit through to both reduce feedback and have some security in placement. To maintain good hearing, be sure you do not cover the microphones of your devices too tightly, which may cause discomfort and feedback. Some trial and error may be needed to come up with the right combination.
Assistive Devices – When covering devices, keep in mind you may temporarily reduce hearing slightly, and when outdoors hearing may be more challenging. It is the perfect opportunity to make use of other technologies such as remote microphones or FM systems
Speak directly with your audiologist for personalized recommendations. Some hearing aid and cochlear implant manufacturers have suggestions, too. Many accessories can be purchased through the manufacturer, and some directly through CHC.
Whatever you choose, stay warm, have fun and stay connected!
Check out other DIY hearing tech posts by Audiologist Anita Stein-Meyers.