The challenges that consistently arise from having a hearing loss has made me crave obstacles to overcome. I love seeing different ways of life, unique scenery, meeting new people and testing myself with the challenges of travels. By traveling, especially alone, I hope to become a stronger, better person. I hope to experience many different things and to have an array of stories to tell.
I have worn hearing aids since I was about a year old. (I’m 25 now.)
I am fortunate to have amazing parents who encouraged me to do whatever I had my heart set on, despite my hearing loss. This set the precedent for my life as if there is something I want to do, I make it happen!
When I was in college, I discovered the possibility of studying abroad and I knew I wanted to go to New Zealand. I spent five months traveling this beautiful little country with my best friend. There is where I caught the travel bug.
Currently, I’m traveling in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. One of the main reasons I’ve decided on Puerto Rico was my love for surfing.
For most of my life, snowboarding was my passion, lifestyle and dream. I’ve been riding since first grade, and I competed for 3-4 years in local and national competitions. I love it, but I was ready to learn and try something new, which is why I got into surfing.
I took my first surf lesson on a family vacation when I was around 13 years old, but I didn’t get the opportunity to do it again until last year. Now I am hooked and want to keep progressing. However, it’s hard to improve when you surf for one week out of the year. Now I can surf every day, while doing some freelance work to support my lifestyle.
Surfing is challenging enough, but what makes it more difficult is the fact that I have hearing aids.
Everyday I have to plan and think about what I’m going to do with my hearing aids. These little pieces of technology are so important, valuable and yet so sensitive.
I have gotten through these stressful situations by taking it day by day.
Sometimes, I choose to leave my hearing aids behind for the day. Especially if I know I’ll be doing risky activities. Without my hearing aids I mostly hear silence, but I can still communicate by lip-reading.
When I do this, I will hide my hearing aids in my vehicle by searching for a hidden spot in the car. Other times, I will just leave them in my hotel room so I know they are safe and sound. This way, I don’t have it in the back of my head while I’m surfing or exploring.
It’s my worst nightmare to have my hearing aids get soaked or damaged while traveling. It’s scary to be in a country where there is water everywhere – oceans, rivers, downpour rains that come out of nowhere, etc.
The other day I went out to explore and it randomly started pouring down rain, and we got soaked within minutes. Luckily, my Phonak Naida hearing aids were fine. Most hearing aids now have an IP67 rating (New Phonak hearing aids have an IP rating of IP68), which means it is dust proof and water resistant to a level that it could withstand up to 30 min in 3 feet of water.)
Knowing they can withstand the rain, light splashes and dust makes me less worried. But, even though the hearing aids can withstand rain, sweat and water splashes, I still have to worry about drying the hearing aids and replacing the battery. This can be difficult, especially in areas where it is very humid.
I wear a floppy hat when I hike, which helps shelter the hearing aids. I also bring a little backpack with a hearing aid case so I can put the hearing aids in the case and they will be safe in my bag.
If I have to cross streams, I try my hardest to not slip and fall! Or if I hike to a waterfall, I try to find a safe spot to put my backpack so I can go swimming.
Although my hearing aids can be one of my biggest worries, I have always found a solution to keep them safe.
Traveling is very important to me and I hope to see the whole world.
Do you have any advice for traveling or doing sports with hearing aids? I’d love to read them in the comments below.