Working Out Deaf


I won the contest at work.  We had a bet who could lose the most percentage weight.  Yippee for me!  I lost 29 lbs in 9 weeks.  Just over 11% body weight reduction.  I still need to lose about 25 more to finally put an end to the “chubby deaf guy.”

Working out Deaf…do you wear your hearing instruments or not?  Yes, I have a water resistant hearing aid and cochlear implant.  But years of being taught  to fear moisture on my expensive hearing devices still is in me and I can’t seem to get over that.  Thus I always remove my CI and hearing aid when I work out.  This has pros and cons.

Pros:  I like being in my own little world sometimes.  I enjoy the peacefulness, and I seem to focus better on exercising.  I can work out as intensely as I wish with no concern about damaging my hearing instruments.  Lastly, at the gym, there can be some arrogant jocks spewing off stupidity.  My son tells me some of the conversations he has heard.  A real classic was some meathead dude looking forward to visiting LA because  “Almost all the women in LA have done porn.  Its true dude!”  These are the times I consider myself blessed to be deafened.

But there are some cons and some safety points to consider.

First, I think I need a t-shirt that says “I am not a douche-bag…I am deaf”.  Although I try really hard to not block anybody and be aware of my surroundings, sometimes people ask me questions like “are you done with that machine”.  I look like I am ignoring them, which gets erroneously interpreted as arrogance.  I mean, thats what guys do in the gym, right?  It is almost a dick slapping contest.  Well, no, not for me…I am not a jerk like some of the other guys in the gym, I am just deaf.

Then there are the safety issues.  I also run outside with no hearing aid or CI.  Let me officially state that I am not advocating this for anyone because you may not hear a car and get run over.  The safest thing would be to run on a treadmill if you insist on doing it “deaf”. Or use your hearing instruments whilst running outside.  Try protecting them with products like the Hearing Aid Sweat Band or Ear Gear.  I have not personally used these products, so don’t interpret this as an endorsement…but check it out.  Lastly, you when you are done with your exercising, put the hearing instruments in a Dr-Aid kit of some type.

There are now hearing aids that are water resistant.  Phonak has the new H2O line of hearing aids as does Siemens with the Aquaris product.  In addition, the Cochlear Nucleus N5 is water resistant, while the Advanced Bionics Neptune is actually waterproof.

But I have taken some steps to increase my safety, namely by enhancing my visibility.  First, I wear a reflective safety vest.  This makes me pretty much glow when headlights shine on me.

This vest makes me more visible.

But I didn’t stop there.  I also added some flashing lights to the vest.  I have a white at the front and a red one on my back.  If you can’t see me now, should you legally be driving?

These lights make me look flashier than Elton John.

The decision to exercising “deaf” is entirely personal.  I prefer it for myself, and I accept the related risks (not hearing traffic, and not hearing jocks).
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14 thoughts on “Working Out Deaf

  1. In the gym I wear earbuds for a Nano that I have cranked up to blast out a 135 beat per minute rhythm. I still have enough residual hearing for that. A couple times I used my iCom and hearing aid to listen to my Nano, but I don’t like having anything around my neck. If I have earbuds in both ears then everyone thinks that’s why I can’t hear them – I think.

    For walking/jogging outside I use my hearing aid. I live in Massachusetts where the drivers are nutsoid. I don’t want to become road-kill.

    • One of my facebook friends, and an audiologist with hearing loss as well, suggested getting some iron on or sew on labels to let people know I am deaf when I am at the gym. Seems like a pretty good idea. Click here for DeafBikeSigns.

      For outside, you are indeed best to use your hearing instruments. But note that even with hearing aids, you still do not have the same localization abilities as normal hearing folks. So extra caution is still needed, especially with crazy drivers (we have Quebec fro crazy drivers).

  2. Yes, I’m bad too. I’m paranoid about my aids. I wear them to the gym, but take them off and put them in a locker, and then I put on my iPod. I don’t speak to anyone, but just nod to the people I recognize. I have been asked if I was finished my treadmill or asked to borrow something, and I had to have the people repeat themselves. I tell myself I’m focussed on exercise, and I sweat and drip. I don’t go running outdoor so no traffic to worry about, just looking snobby to other gym users. But at least I try to be polite and clean up after using the equipment! 🙂

  3. Having recently competed at a natural bodybuilding competition for my first time, I do train at the gym fairly often. I often mute my hearing aids, but turn them back on whenever I want to ask for a spotter or cannot read someone’s lips when s/he is talking to me. I’ve learned the usual range of questions or comments people may say and just answer their questions briefly, while keeping my hearing aids off.

    I’ve have to replace the tubes which hardened faster than a typical person. I’ve been told it’s due to sweating a lot.

    And, I also replace the filters for the two microphones on my Phonak Naida V UPs hearing aids more regularly than an average user of the same kind of hearing aids.

    Whenever I do need a spotter, I do inform them that I cannot read lips upside down and then break the awkwardness by asking if they know any sign language. “No” is the usual answer. And, I say, “yeah, yeah, sure you do.” The person thinks for a second and then smile. Then it’s all good.

    I do like the quiet that I get from having my hearing aids off, but at times I do like the energy that the music is giving me. But, the latter doesn’t happen often.

    Congrats on your successes, Peter!

  4. I love the fact that I now have water resistant hearing aids and can wear them to the gym. I used to get more than my fair share of funny looks when I didn’t hear people who were asking me if I was done with the equipment. I’m recovering from a minor back injury right now and one day, one of the trainers I’d never met before in the gym complimented me on how well I was doing. It’s been a struggle coming back from my injury and I’m sure glad I didn’t miss that comment. It made my day. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing when you leave the aids off.

  5. Oddly enough, I feel like I run better without my aids. With them, I can hear myself huffing and puffing and it’s very disconcerting.

    Although, one time my dog bit someone who was coming up behind me. I felt her tugging on the leash in a way she doesn’t usually do and happened to look back to see her hanging on some dude’s leg…

    I’m just glad to know there are others who have the same issues 🙂

      • Actually, I’ve got her in a harness. She’s a Westie so, though strong-willed, she doesn’t carry have much mass.

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