There are a lot of different things that can damage the delicate that makes a hearing aid work the way it does, but not many have the impact of water. Hearing aids seem to self-destruct under extreme moisture conditions. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a huge problem.
Moisture that you can’t see has the highest chance of causing irreparable damage. It’s important to educate yourself about why humidity damages hearing aids.
Let’s Talk About Humidity
Humidity is a word that gets bounced around a lot, commonly during the summer months, but what does it mean? PBS describes 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 humidity levels are too high our sweat won’t evaporate as quickly. Electronics are also susceptible to humidity and that is why it has such a detrimental effect on hearing aids.
Understand Humidities Effect on Hearing Aids
Too high or, too low, humidity can affect your hearing aids. When it’s too moist, the delicate electronics will accumulate condensation. When it’s overly dry things become more brittle.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to function. A sophisticated signal processing chip controls noise levels in a newer hearing aid. It’s what is behind elegant features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can accumulate in the hearing aid when humidity is high and harm that component. Batteries get destroyed and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. It’s the same as dropping your hearing aid in a bathtub of water.
If you are shopping for hearing aids, try to find products that are water-resistant. This feature will give you some protection from humidity and bad weather, but you still can’t swim with them in.
If you live in an area prone to high humidity, consider using a room or house dehumidifier to cut down on water vapor indoors. It’s not only your hearing aid that will benefit, there are health benefits, and other electronics in your house will also be protected. Dust mites, mildew, and mold thrive in moist environments so a dehumidifier will improve the quality of breathing as well. However, protecting your hearing aid more completely will require additional thinking. There are a few other things you can and should do.
Consider buying a dehumidifier designed especially for hearing aids. There is one out there for every budget. Drying kits rely on silica gel crystals to protect the electronics. You put the device in the dehumidifier for a couple of hours to eliminate moisture. There are also storage containers that dry hearing aids out each night as you sleep. If it is very humid and you have no other way, uncooked rice can reduce moisture.
Get in the habit of opening the battery compartment every time you store your hearing aids. 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.
Always store your hearing aids in a cool, dry place. Avoid putting them in the glove compartment, in a hot room or on a table in the sun.
Thinking Beyond Humidity
Damage can be caused by other types of wetness. Don’t forget to think about other types of wetness like:
- 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. Sweat in your ears can cause problems later.
- 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.