There are a lot of different things that can harm the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid function the way it does, but not many have the impact of water. In fact, you could call moisture kryptonite for hearing aids. Even if you already know that and take care to protect your investment from the shower, pool, or a good face washing, more than likely you are missing the most common cause of water damage in hearing aids: humidity.
Moisture that you can’t see has the highest chance of causing irreparable damage. It’s time to understand more about why humidity is a negative thing for hearing aids.
Humidity is a word that gets bounced around a lot, especially during the summer months, but what is humidity? PBS defines humidity as water molecules in the air. The relative humidity refers to the ratio of water molecules in the air compared to how many the air can actually hold. When you can feel wetness in the air, that means the relative humidity is high.
Humans cool down their body by sweating so that makes us very sensitive to humidity. When you sweat it evaporates into the air, but that doesn’t happen as quickly when the humidity level is very high. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
In General Electronics Have a Hard Time Dealing With Humid Weather
Strangely enough, electronics are not only sensitive to high humidity but low levels as well. When water vapor percentages are high condensation can collect on the delicate elements that make electronics function, and low humidity can cause brittle core materials.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to function. A sophisticated signal processing chip controls noise levels in a modern hearing aid. It’s what is behind elegant functions like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can collect inside the hearing aid when humidity is high and harm that component. Batteries get ruined and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the same as throwing your hearing aid in a sink of water.
Water resistant models are currently available. Having this feature doesn’t mean you can go swimming with your hearing aids in your ear, but it does give some protection against humidity and other weather-related concerns such as getting caught in an unexpected rainstorm or even sweat when you exercise.
If you live in a humid area, consider getting a room or house dehumidifier to lessen water vapor inside. It’s an investment that will benefit you and your family in numerous ways and protect other electronic devices like that expensive TV you got for Christmas. Dehumidifiers reduce the risk of mold, mildew and dust mites, so everyone breathes a little better, too. Although a house or room dehumidifier will help protect your hearing aids, it’s not enough. There are a few other things you can and should do.
Look for the dehumidifier made for hearing aids. There is one out there for every budget. Silica gel crystals in a drying kit are used to protect electronics. Moisture is eliminated by putting the hearing aids into the dehumidifier for a couple of hours. There are also storage containers that dry hearing aids out each night as you sleep. In a pinch, you could use a bag of uncooked rice to remove moisture.
Don’t forget to leave the battery door open when you store your device. By pulling that door open before you put the hearing aid down, you expose the batteries and other elements to the air, allowing any condensation built up to evaporate naturally. Don’t just do this in the summer, do it all year round.
A cool dry place is the ideal for storage. On the table in the sun, in the glove compartment, or in a hot room are examples of where not to store your hearing aids.
Other Moisture Factors
Air vapor is not the only moisture that can damage hearing aids. Take precautions to protect them from other kinds of wet such as:
- Make sure all lotion or sunscreen is fully absorbed before touching your hearing aids or putting them in your ears.
- Leave your hearing aids in a safe place before you go swimming.
- Wear a sweatband when exercising. If you are wearing your hearing aid then it’s a good idea in general. Later that sweat will cause problems.
- Try not to put your hearing aid down on wet surfaces. You don’t want to place it in a wet spot left by a glass or coffee cup.
Your hearing aids are a valuable asset, so treat them that way. Consider how moisture and humidity can impact them and take steps to prevent water damage. If your hearing aid already has water damage make an appointment for service with a hearing aid specialist.