Guest Blog by Tessa Wix. Tessa (35-years-old, Sacramento, CA) rafted with us on an 11 Day Hiker’s Special trip in April of 2022. Below she shared some thoughts on her experience with hearing aids.
Bringing hearing aids on your river trip is doable and safe with the right gear. Given that hearing aids can get damaged by water, folks generally do not wear their hearing aids while rafting or on the river. Instead, keep your hearing aids protected and handy through multi-layered protection. The best way to keep hearing aids dry while on the river and not wearing them is to use a small Pelican case. These are durable, waterproof, and fit inside your small day dry bag that we provide. Then, when your river trip stops for hikes, lunch, or camping you can simply grab the pelican case with your hearing aids and put them back in while you are on land. And of course, repeat taking your hearing aids out and placing them back in the pelican case and dry bag before you get back on the river. You can also store your batteries in the accessible pelican case.
If you have rechargeable hearing aids, you can charge your battery pack with the Grand Canyon Whitewater provided charging station. Just bring whatever cord you usually use (USB or wall mount).
It does take some getting used to life on the river with your hearing aids. Here are a few pointers to assist with that adjustment:
- Let Grand Canyon Whitewater know before the trip that you wear hearing aids, and when you arrive, let your guides know. It is important that they are aware so they can get your attention on the boat if needed. A lot of safety information is shared, and this will ensure that your guides provide you with what you need to know.
- You may want to sit towards the back of the boat if on a motor trip while you get used to the situation. You are closer to the guide in the back and can get a feel for how they notify you of upcoming rapids and inform you about the canyon. I started towards the back until I felt comfortable, then moved right on up to the front and other passengers helped share information.
- When towards the front of the motor boats, it is very challenging for everyone to hear the guides. The motor boats are about 35 feet long and have a motor, so keep that in mind for your boat seating placement. The oar boats are 18 feet long, there is no motor and you are usually within roughly 4-5 feet of a guide.
- Wearing your hearing aids when on land for lunches, hikes, and camp is great for socializing with others and communicating with your guides, who will often go over what to expect the next day.
If you have any additional questions, just ask!