Deaf Runners

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25/04/2008 at 12:24

Hi all,

 Long time lurker emerging here.

Anyway, I'm just wondering if there are any other deaf/hearing impaired runners around? And if so, would you like to share any problems you might have encountered running?

For me, the winter poses the biggest problem. I live next to a canal, so the footpath is ideal for running. But when the days become shorter, I'm not sure if it's as safe, and I would not hear an aeroplane land behind me, let alone an axe murderer approaching. I suppose the roads might be second best, but I don't know about the long-term impact on running on concrete - it really doesn't seem ideal.

I'd like to enter some races this summer, possibly a 10k. But I know I want hear the person next to me, or any announcements. Has anybody tried writing relevant information, say, on the back of their shirt? Especially if something unpleasant happens and you require assistance anyway.

And what have your experiences been with a running club? Mostly, I prefer running alone, but the social interaction might well motivate me to keep up and improve overall. However, I don't know how many would be patient with somebody that might not be able to follow instructions right away - it takes me a while to familiarise myself with a new person and lip-reading.

Not complaining about any of this. In fact, it is nice to be able to literally switch off the world at times (and when O.H asks me to do anything like housework!), but I'm curious about the practical problems that some of you might have encountered.



25/04/2008 at 13:58

can't help in any of this- but you are doing great jst by getting out - and it obviously does have one beneift if you can shut off from OH!!

Don't be put off about racing - I am sure that you could always have something printed on your T Shirt - deaf runner etc - also advise the organisers in advance -

Same thing with a club - email some local ones and explain the problem and see if you could be catered for - clubs are a great motivation

Good luck

25/04/2008 at 14:08
I've certainly seen runners wearing a shirt that says they're deaf - I passed one during the London Marathon and I recall seeing one at another race a few years ago as well.
25/04/2008 at 14:13
Barcode wrote (see) is nice to be able to literally switch off the world at times (and when O.H asks me to do anything like housework!)...

Lol Barcode!
25/04/2008 at 15:19

Hi Barcode,

I'm new to the forum(joined today just to respond to your request). I'm deaf and have been running now for 20 + years. I use an aid but never when running for fear of sweat damaging said instrument. I never race...just solo running...3/4 times a week..ave mileage  20/30 per week. Love every minute that I'm out in the elements...rain, wind, snow or frost...I just get out and run. Get some earache off the OH for spending so much time out, but there you go...we can't have everything in life perfect. I do plenty of housework during the week just to pacify her and keep the peace.

I tend to run round a local beauty spot...this can lead to some verbal abuse off the chavs...can't hear a thing they shout at me...which is very rewarding from my point of view...I just plod on obliviously.

It is nice to know that there are deaf runners out there...sometimes I feel that perhaps I should take the plunge and contact a club but deafness is sometimes a very personal and difficult obstacle to overcome. 

I too, like you, not complaining just hoping to run and maintain my fitness for ASAP. To date I've not had any injuries that have stopped me running. I cross train at home on a Healthride machine and I walk and cycle whenever possible.

Best of luck with the running.




25/04/2008 at 15:20


Thanks - I'm not put off from starting to enter races, I just want to make sure I have the practical situation covered. I'd hate to be the annoying person slowing others down because I don't hear them, and let's face it, it is annoying - I become annoyed when I have to repeat myself sometimes. I live in W.Yorkshire, so I'm going to try and find something local, and the Pennines must be nice in the summer

25/04/2008 at 15:26

Hi Phil,

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Like you, I have digital aids, but I will not use them when running. On holiday, I forgot to take them out when I entered the swimming pool, and well, you can guess the rest. I'd imagine constantly using them when running would produce a similar effect in the long run.

Bet the furthest the chavs have run is to the nearest pub, and being oblivious can sometimes be a positive thing. The way I see it is that although I may not be the fastest runner in the world, I am faster than those sitting at home eating junk, so we do have something to be proud of, and the naysayers should shut up.

I wonder if it's an idea to visit a running club prior to the run to see how well you are likely to integrate. Sometimes, people can be accommodating via e-mail, but have a different attitude when they meet you and realize they will need to be patient. I think if I join a club I will have to meet them before just joining in a run and feeling demoralized. I don't expect people to adapt to me, but if I turn up first and say that when communicating, it's easier to do x,z,z - that must be better than going for a run with them and landing in trouble.

25/04/2008 at 15:39


I agree entirely your sentiments about meeting people...particularly takes quite awhile for me to build a friendship, really because of my lack of confidence about my hearing.

Anyway very nice to make your aquantance..I'm off home soon ( using works time and computer to correspond)...hopefully I will hear from you again next week. I will reply to you on Monday if you answer this response.

I will be out tomorrow...probably a LSR...8/9 miles hopefully. it will have to be a steady legs are acheing a little today...came to work on my bike this morning and it is all up hill...still going home is much easier.

Have a good weekend...hope the weather holds...fed up of running my windproof  jacket and it will be a pleasant change to have some sun on my face whilst I plod the miles away. No Ipod for me...for obvious reasons.



27/04/2008 at 11:58

Hi Phil.

How old are you? I'm 26, and have found that whereas I used to dread social situations - I'm now of the opinion that anybody who can't be bothered to be patient is probably not worth talking to or having as a friend, somebody that we are better off without anyway. The initial conversation can sometimes be difficult, but once I'm used to somebody's voice and can lip-read them, it is no longer a chore - just takes time.

I'm off out this afternoon, it's a fine rain here, but I don't mind that, and it actually energizes me. I'm trying to get up to an hour running at the moment, I'm not terribly fast, but I want to get time on feet before I worry about other things.

There must be other HoH runners on this forum?

Hope you had a good run/weekend.

27/04/2008 at 12:13

I'm sure that many clubs would be happy for you to join them. I'd suggest that you contact them before you go along so that you don't face some of the difficulties you describe. I've worked with Deaf children and would be happy to link with a new deaf runner. Several of my clubmates would be happy to help as well and are used to similar situations.

I do think that joining a club would help your running.  and might also give you a regular running partner to warn of the approachig  axe-murderers and landing planes.

All the best!

27/04/2008 at 12:58


Yes, I will e-mail my local club, called Huddersfield Road Runners, which claims to be small, friendly and caters for all abilities. I would definitely benefit from being in a group motivation wise. Neither do they seem to run impossible distances. I'll report back on how it goes

27/04/2008 at 14:03

I'd like to know how you get on but am going to disable email response. Please email me direct if you want.

Happy running!

27/04/2008 at 20:35

Hi Guys

I'm another Hearing Impaired runner (deafened). I wear 2 aids but have some hearing in my right ear.

I also run without my hearing aids but I do know a few other chaps locally (Notts) who wear theirs while running, one from my own club. I stopped wearing mine because I sweat loads and kept breaking them. Got my legs slapped by the nice lady in audiology .

I agree that it is nice not to be able to hear the chavs, though I do miss the wolf whistles and kind comments about my legs and bum from the young ladies in Mansfield .

A little story from 18 years or so ago.

I was taking part in the Chesterfield half marathon, at around the 7 mile mark I noticed that the chap running alongside was saying something. I carry my aids in my shorts pocket so, I took them out of said pocket and put them in my ears. I asked the chap what he had said to which he replied " Oh! Sorry! I didn't realise you couldn't hear me, I thought you were just to knackered to reply. I've been chatting to you for the last half mile".

Well, after that I just had to keep the things in for the rest of the race and had a wonderful run chatting away to this fellow. Most people can be very understanding.

28/04/2008 at 11:22

Good morning Barcode,

Apologies for the delay in replying...I've had a busy morning...on top of all the work now...thank goodness.

I'm 59 in a few days time. Been running now for 20+ years...previously I played local league squash for 15 years. I also did some running at this time to improve my stamina. Stopped playing squash when I was injured and never really regained the motivation to play again. Progressed to running and except for the odd missed year or so I have continued since.

I was out on Saturday...nice steady 8 miles...out again this afternoon for a 10K run.

Hi Extreme Muzzy...good to meet you. From your thread it would appear that you've got a few miles running in over the years. I agree that most mature people are very understanding...most of my problem is self inflicted apprehension and lack of confidence. Not bad when you condider that I started to go deaf im my late teens and I still have not really come to terms with the fact.



28/04/2008 at 13:35

Been running 2 years, wear two aids which are removed for running due to sweat. 

Used to be really cautious about running outdoors due to safety issues.  Joined women's running network who are really supportive and friendly and are really good about my hearing.  They know I'm not ignoring them on runs just deaf.  Always run with someone so when crossing road I rwaly on them for crossing as opposed to me having to stop and phsically look both ways etc and get out of the flow.  Again aware of chavs but grateful I cannot hear them.

 Have entered a few 10ks'. I always tell race director of issue with not hearing.  Deliberately choose races with road closures.  However, beware, you might think your ok with no traffic but I find the worst offener for trying to pass me and not knowing they are behind is the race ambulance.  Have decided probably need to get a t shirt with "Deaf -Not Ignoring you" on the back for races only for safety.  Also someone said they saw a London Marathoner with "Wave - I'm deaf "on a T Shirt.   

Feel confident enough to run certain places on my opwn outdoors now, especially certain routes I know there is no traffic like promenade at sea front.

 Saw someone with ipod plugged into digi shoes on their hearing aids recently at a race.  Would love to run to music but sweat too much to be able to wear them.

28/04/2008 at 14:01

Hi Becky Boo,

Good to meet you...I tend to run mainly off the roads, but take extra care when I do have to cross in front of traffic. Some drivers won't stop no matter if you are running,biking or walking.

I really prefer to run without Ipod etc...I like to look around and take in the views. Also I like to be without earmoulds for awhile...they can get uncomfrotable at times and running gives an excuse to be aid free. Don't get me wrong..I enjoy music(60's for me,being an oldie plodder) sometimes I listen to the radio now and to be honest I don't really get what the songs are about nowadays.

It is unlikely that I will enter races...I just enjoy running to keep fit. Plus it allows me to have a few naughty treats(magnums and cakes in particular) as and when I like.

It is great that you are confident enough to run on your own. I find it abit disconcerting when I run up behind girls wearing Ipods...sometimes you can see their reaction when they jump at being surprised from behind. I feel guilty but what can i do...I try to make them aware that I'm approaching by scuffing the ground but often to no avail.



28/04/2008 at 18:53

*sometimes you can see their reaction when they jump at being surprised from behind. I feel guilty but what can i do..*


Sorry Phil, only joking.

I lost my hearing literally overnight. I woke one morning and could hear almost nothing at all. I had previously had perforated eardrums though.

I've been running on and off for 20+ years, also tried Triathlons and Ultra Marathons. I'm 45 by the way.
I've had a succession of running partners (mostly female, don't know why.)  but I now tend to run alone, even though I am a member of a club.

I've never had a problem with running alone as I seem to be more aware of my surroundings than hearing peeps. I was always the one to stop club partners running in front of cars at junctions at my old club.

28/04/2008 at 19:01

Great to see others here.

Can't imagine what it must be like to wake up deaf. Mine is a (progressive) sensori-neural loss, in the moderate-severe range. I don't hear much without my aids, and the main benefit is to make some speech intelligible, but for that, people must be facing me. Eventually, I might be considered for a cochlear implant, but it's not worth it at the moment.

Think I will go with the sign on back of t-shirt idea.

Didn't know MP3 players could plug into aids - going to have to investigate now. Mine are Siemens Prisma 2 if that means anything to anybody.

28/04/2008 at 19:22
Look on Connovans site to see if they accept "direct shoes".
If so, you should be able to plug an MP3 (or mobile phone) into them.

Regards the waking up deaf, all I can say is "deep depression".
29/04/2008 at 08:25

Morning guys,

Extreme offence taken. 

It must have been difficult to come to terms with losing your hearing so suddenly. Mine was get by on your wits for awhile but eventually the hearing difficulties become more of an obstacle. I had a stapedactomy operation on my left ear 15 years ago. This improved my hearing but not enough to do without an aid. I only where the one. I don't have much hearing at all in my right ear.

I had a good run yesterday evening...10K...52 mins. Nice steady run...the rain kept off so that made even more enjoyable. I was out at chavs about at that time and not too many dogs walkers.

Barcode...I hope you can find some way of listening to music whilst you run...I'm not too concerned with this...I just enjoy getting out in the fresh air.

I do agree with EM sentiments about being more aware of my surroundings than hearing's become a habit to look around when walking or running to ensure that I'm not going to be attacked or knocked over by chavs or cyclists on the pavements.



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