View Full Version : Hearing Aids on the trail

02-24-2010, 22:18
Since I am planning a thru-hike, I have been trying to make a packing list when I realized that I was missing a very important item, my hearing aid batteries.

I usually forget that I have hearings aids since I have thankfully become so accustomed to them but when that battery dies or my aids get wet, I am shockingly brought back to reality. I was wondering if anyone has hearing aids and could tell me about their thru-hiking experience!

Note: I am planning on bringing my pup since he has had some training to be a service animal. However, he will be attending this trip as a PET not a SERVICE DOG so I will not have him with me in restricted sections. The only help he will give me on this trip is notifying me when people are near, when animals are near and as a security blanket.

02-24-2010, 22:23
Nina Baxley Rogers (aka Waterfall) hiked the AT a few years back with a hearing aid. She posts once-in-a-blue-moon here and more frequently on AT-L:
(E-mail addie in the above link)

She just had a baby, so the reply may be a little slow in coming, but I'm sure she'd be happy to answer your questions.

She's also on Facebook if that helps.

Good luck on your AT journey!

02-25-2010, 19:37
I haven't thru hiked but have section hiked approx. half the trail with hearing aids. I have significant problems without them and so take great care with them.

The key is keeping them dry and so usually wear only one at a time and keep the other in a small water proof pouch that I hang off the front of my pack. Sometimes, I take both of them out and need to tell someone that I meet to wait a second while I "get wired again" There have been no significant problems for me and being able to turn them off or take them out is quite an advantage in crowded shelters :)

You'll have no problems...good luck

02-25-2010, 20:03
If u shelter or tent u should be ok. If u tarp then one would want to put the hearing aid in a secure non mouse place for the night - I use a small plastic container and dump it into my hat with knife next to my head.

02-25-2010, 20:44
I'm not and never will be a thru hiker but I backpack from 7 to 10 days each month there when is no snow. I wear hearing aids most of the time.

The one situation when I always wear my hearing aids is when I'm backpacking. I am fanatical about keeping them dry. I always wear a wide brim hat when hiking for extra protection from both sun and rain. If the rain gets too strong and persistent I store them in their little box inside two Ziploc bags.

Nearly all drug stores sell hearing aid batteries. My batteries last about a week. I would start with a 12 pack and plan on buying more every few weeks.


02-25-2010, 21:10
I hike with a friend who is hearing impaired and requires the use of two aids. You've been given good advice - wear a hat to help keep them dry, wear one and store one, etc. My hiking buddy uses a waterproof match case, with "O" ring and baffle seals, to keep his aids dry, but he also enjoys whitewater boating, both canoe and kayak. He says to keep one safe, preferably where you keep your spare batteries, and wear one while wearing a hat, basically always. (He ALWAYS has hat-head, but that has nothing to do with hearing aids, right?). Always have a buddy, and see if you can talk them into carrying one spare battery somewhere for you. (In my case, I never have to carry stove fuel, but I carry a battery and a candy bar - he's also hypo-glycemic, thin as a rail, and I'm not a small person. He always takes the sugar reserve I'm carrying first, since you should never trust your last glucose stash to a fat man ;-) )

Other than that, the only advice I could offer is to have a way to get a spare unit if something should happen to permanently damage one. You'll want to enjoy your thru with all your senses, as much as possible.

HYOH, what was that?


02-25-2010, 22:25
I have two bionic ears that I wear all the time, and I too wear a wide-brimmed hat. I'm not a thru-hiker, but I carry a set or two of spare batteries and the storage case that came with the units. Never had any problems. I acidentally got the units wet when I jumped in the shower without thinking, but there was no harm done.

02-26-2010, 04:04
What? Huh? I can't hear you! Please type LOUDER!

(Hey, best wishes on hiking with hearing challenges. My brother has hearing aids in both ears and I expect to have my own hearing aids within the next 5 years. Thus, this thread will be of great interest to me).

02-26-2010, 17:49
Thank you for all the advice.
I have two in the ear hearing aids and since I have longer hair, I usually dont wear a hat.
I am mostly concerned about batteries and humidity, not to mention that darn rain! I cannot stand wearing just one hearing aid, so that is out of the question unless I have no other choice.

At this point, the hearing aids are not proving to be a big concern except for batteries since I go through about two a week (in the summer) and the cold tends to kill them so if I hike during a colder month, I may need to spend more money.

It is great learning about what other people do! Keep the advice coming! :)

02-26-2010, 19:40
Argent...do you have any aid dryers...usually they are small plastic jars with a removable "bisquit" filled with crystals which absorb the moisture from the aids. They are fairly small and the bisquit can be placed in a microwave for 15 or 20 seconds to recharge them. When you take the aids out at night, or whenever, place them in the dryers and they are good to go when you need to put them back in.

You can pick the dryers up at any hearing aid dealer

04-01-2010, 14:45
I know it's probably too late to help Argent on this, but FWIW, here's my experience:

I wear a hearing aid in my good ear (my "bad ear" is hopeless and a hearing aid doesn't help). On my thru-hike, I used an in-the-ear (full-shell) hearing aid. When I wasn't wearing it, I kept it inside a Ziploc, and kept the Ziploc in a hard case. I took the hearing aid out at night and when the weather was particularly wet or windy. But, for the most part, I wore the hearing aid for my entire thru-hike and never encountered any humidity-related problems.

The hard case was an actual case for storing hearing aids that I got from my audiologist. I highly recommend using one, even though they're heavier than just a Ziploc. If I hadn't had one, I probably would have accidentally smashed my hearing aid before I made it 100 miles.

As for batteries, I just kept them stored in a Ziploc with my AA batteries for my headlamp. I kept a supply in my bounce box (I think ... or maybe I had them in every few maildrops), in case they were hard to find in town.

Deafness on the trail was an annoyance more than anything else. But it was kind of nice not being able to hear the snorers and and mice in the shelters while I slept. :)

04-01-2010, 14:46
Oh, one more thing. At night in town, I would set it out on a bedside table (NOT in the bathroom!) in case it needed to dry out.

04-01-2010, 14:57
Oh, one more thing. At night in town, I would set it out on a bedside table (NOT in the bathroom!) in case it needed to dry out.

this is probably a stupid question, but are you the same waterfall who hiked sobo with isis and jackrabbit...?

04-01-2010, 15:24
Not a stupid question. Yes, I'm the same Waterfall. :)

04-01-2010, 15:29
Not a stupid question. Yes, I'm the same Waterfall. :)

Wow! This probably sounds weird but I feel like I kinda know you/like you're kinda a celebrity, after just finishing reading 'Southbound,' lol. Based on their book, you sound like a really nice person, haha. :D

Well, that's really all I had to say. Sorry I'm awkward, haha. :banana

04-01-2010, 17:11
I'm much wimpier than they make me sound in the book, and not nearly as nice. And I don't think I have quite the southern drawl that they claim I have. :)

They were a lot of fun to hike with. Hope you enjoyed their book!

04-02-2010, 07:33
I'm much wimpier than they make me sound in the book, and not nearly as nice. And I don't think I have quite the southern drawl that they claim I have. :)

They were a lot of fun to hike with. Hope you enjoyed their book!

Haha, yeah they did really emphasize your accent and your laugh. I got their book after meeting them at a book signing in Maine. They seemed really genuine and since I knew my boyfriend would be leaving on a thruhike of his own in a year, I thought it would be worthwhile reading. It was a bit long but for the most part I really enjoyed it. Makes me want to get out there too.