Stay in the game and enjoy the season with these helpful insights.
People with hearing loss have helped shape several of today’s modern sports. In fact, baseball hand signals were first imagined by a 19th-century baseball player with hearing loss, Dummy (William) Ellsworth Hoy. The football huddle was first used in the 1890s by Gallaudet University quarterback Paul Hubbard to sign plays without the other teams catching on. If you’re playing summer sports with hearing loss, you’re joining a long and storied history of athletes who proudly represent their sport.
While you’re out on the field or court this season, keep these tips in mind to protect your hearing health so you can play to win – and have fun while you’re at it.
- Check with your audiologist
- Protect your hearing devices
- Communicate your way
- Have fun
Continue on to learn more about each of these tips below.
1. Check with your audiologist
Before your season begins, schedule an appointment with your audiologist to let them know which sport you’ll be playing. If you use assistive listening devices, they can help you find one that’s most appropriate for the level of physical activity involved in your sport of choice. They can also offer suggestions on other ways to protect your hearing health while you’re in the game.
2. Protect your hearing devices
Summer is a great time to enjoy the sun and fresh air during a game, but the warm weather can put your hearing devices at risk for damage or loss. If you wear hearing aids, you’ll want to take extra care to prevent them from falling out, protect them from moisture, and keep them in overall good shape. Wearing a sweatband or cord can help you keep your devices in place while you are active. You may also want to use a hearing aid dryer/dehumidifier to dry and disinfect them after you play. If you live in a humid climate or like to swim, consider opting for water-resistant devices.
3. Communicate your way
While you don’t have to be a pioneer like Hoy or Hubbard, you may want to take a page from their books and determine the best way to convey strategy and plays to your teammates. Whether it’s hand signals, signing, lip reading, or another method, decide how you feel most comfortable communicating strategy and other calls during the game, then let your team know. There is no one “correct” way to communicate, so test out different strategies to see what works best for you and your team.
4. Have fun
Whether or not you have hearing loss, playing sports any time of year is about having fun. Whether it’s baseball, tennis, volleyball, or another summer favorite, bring your positive attitude to the game as you enjoy the warm-weather season. As with any game, confidence is key – so if you need an extra boost when playing summer sports with hearing loss, remember all who have come before you and left their indelible marks on their games!
These tips for playing summer sports with hearing loss can help you enjoy the game among friends, teammates, and even your opponents. So, get out there – we’re rooting for you!