Athletes and Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects people of all ages, not just seniors. Many younger adults have hearing loss from exposure to very loud noises. Some people have a higher risk of hearing loss due to their jobs, and athletes often risk hearing loss doing what they love.

Why Do Athletes Have Hearing Loss?

Athletes often experience hearing loss on the job. One reason for the increases in hearing loss among athletes has to do with injuries. Athletes are more likely to have a fall, or sustain a head, neck, or ear injury. In fact, athletes like football players are very likely to have suffered at least one concussion during their careers. These head injuries can damage the delicate cells in the inner ear, and lead to permanent hearing loss or tinnitus.

Another reason athletes have hearing loss is due to noise. Sports stadiums are extremely loud, with fans yelling, stomping, and cheering on their favorite players. Not only that, but loud music blares into the stands and onto the field. Athletes are in the middle of all this noise night after night, and many athletes experience noise induced hearing loss that makes it hard for them to hear clearly.

Athletes Overcoming Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can sometimes spell the end of an athlete’s career. Not all athletes have let their hearing loss hold them back, and some have found ways to manage their hearing loss.

Derrick Coleman, an NFL player for the Seattle Seahawks, has had hearing loss his whole life. He started wearing hearing aids as a child, but still found a way to follow his dreams. He played on the UCLA team, and learned how to play despite hearing loss. He wears a hearing aid, and his devices helped him hear on the field by localizing sounds and keeping track of where everyone is on the field. He’s even learned to find the good in his hearing loss, since it allows him to tune out the noise of the crowd and focus on the game.

Lance Allred, NBA player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, was born with hearing loss. The team accommodated his hearing loss by using more hand signals, and Allred wore hearing aids to help him hear the sounds around him.

Protecting Hearing

Athletes and fans alike need to protect their hearing on game day. Packed stadiums can be incredibly loud. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the game and forget about your hearing. A good rule of thumb is to try talking to the person standing next to you. If you have to yell to have a conversation then it’s very loud, and you are both risking your hearing.

The best way to protect your hearing is with earplugs. You can wear foam or wax earplugs to protect your hearing. These lightweight earplugs are easily available, and you can slip them into your bag or pocket for when you need them. Digital hearing protection is custom molded to your ear, and they will filter out dangerously loud sounds without distorting soft sounds.

If you’re taking your kids with you to watch the game, bring along some noise cancelling headphones. Children are especially sensitive to loud noises, so make sure they’re protecting their hearing.

Treating Hearing Loss

Whether you play sports recreationally or professionally, treating your hearing loss is extremely important. Hearing aids will help you hear all the sounds in your environment, from the shout of another player to the sound of someone running up behind you. Hearing aids help you localize sounds so you can get a clear picture of exactly what’s happening.

Modern hearing aids are also designed for active lifestyles. They fit snugly into your ears or sit in your ear canal, so they’ll stay securely in place. Not only that, but hearing aids have a sophisticated nano-technology coating that will keep them safe from dirt, dust, moisture, and sweat.

Athletes with hearing loss are inspirational role models, showing us that we can’t define ourselves by our limitations. If you are concerned that you may have a hearing loss, contact us for a hearing test. Learn more about your unique hearing loss and how you can overcome the challenges of hearing loss with hearing aids.