Having a hearing loss or using equipment should never prevent you from participating in sports. Of course, some modifications may need to be made.
Check out this inspirational story: Mooresville Swimmers Inspire Whole Team
So, let's start off with swimming. Some assistive listening devices are water resistant, but be sure to check. I've had some students' hearing aids quit on them after getting a little sweaty on the basketball court! There are more and more devices coming out that are waterproof. If you're lucky enough to have one, you really have the advantage. For those who don't have a waterproof device, it is best to remove the device and get creative with whatever accommodations you'll need while in the water. I've also had some students use the Nammu Swimming Hat to secure their cochlear implant after placing it in a LokSak. Watch the video below for a quick demonstration.
Are you playing a contact sport? Then, you'll probably need a helmet. Wrestling, baseball, softball, hockey, and football are the most common school sports requiring a helmet (let me know if I've missed one). If you're not playing a contact sport, you don't have to worry too much about your hearing aid or cochlear implant popping off, but if you hit hard enough, that thing could go flying out from under your helmet and get stepped on by a 300 lb, cleat-wearing giant! Uh-oh, not good. It's best to make sure you keep your device where's it's supposed to be! A good fitting helmet is a start. Some students have found that the Xenith X1 helmets work best. They contour to the person's head and use adaptive shock absorbers instead of dense foam. I've heard the X2 is even better, but I don't know of anyone who has used that particular helmet, yet. Want the best football helmet ever? Adam Strecker received a custom helmet from Dave Lamm at AAA Sales for about $350.
Biking or skateboarding? The Giro Indicator Universal Fit Helmet seems to be the most popular and comfortable. It has "In Form" technology that allows you to dial in a custom fit in seconds. They also have straps that can go right over your processor to help keep it in place although, I would recommend using a balaclava, skull cap, beanie, or something similar in addition to the helmet (just to be on the safe side). Other "dial in" bike helmets that are good include Lous Garneau Helmets and Bell Bicycle Helmets.
Getting sweaty? If you play soccer, run, lift weights, participate in aerobics, yoga, spinning, or any other sweaty non-contact sport, check out Ear Gear! These simple sleeves help keep moisture out of your device while ensuring they stay put!
Everybody is different - Some of the following products may work for you:
Advanced Bionics makes a Snuggie
Find Critter Clips and other fun stuff at adcohearing.com
Line your helmet with a Silky Helmet Liner
Skullcaps, liners, and beanies
Check out the "Hat Trick" below:
Running or biking at dusk or dawn? Make sure you are aware of your surroundings! It can be very difficult to tell if a vehicle is coming up on you. Many runners wear reflective vests or have blinking lights on their bicycles. I know one Deaf runner who wrote "I can't hear you" on her running shirt with reflective paint. Of course, you may not want to make such a bold statement, but many runners can't hear and it may not be because of a hearing loss, but because they have their iPods cranked up so loud. In any event, drivers would at least know not to waste their time honking at you repeatedly. They'll just have to figure something else out!
What have you used? Please share any products you recommend here!