There are a lot of different things that can damage the delicate technology that makes a hearing aid function the way it does, but few have the impact of water. In fact, you could call moisture kryptonite for hearing aids. Taking that into consideration, humidity is a big problem.
Invisible moisture has the greatest chance of causing permanent damage. It’s important to educate yourself about why humidity damages hearing aids.
Let’s Talk About Humidity
Even though the word humidity is very common, what does it actually mean? 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. The higher the percentage, the wetter everything feels.
People are very sensitive to humidity because sweat is the most effective way to cool the body. When humidity levels are too high our sweat will not evaporate as fast. Moisture and electronics don’t mix well and that includes hearing aids.
Why Hearing Aids Have an issue with Humidity
Too high or, too low, humidity can influence your hearing aids. When it’s too moist, the delicate electronics will accumulate condensation. When it’s too dry things become more brittle.
Hearing aids rely heavily on internal electronics to work. Newer digital hearing aids use a state-of-the-art signal processing chip to control noise. It’s what is behind elegant features like:
- Noise reduction
- Targeted listening programs
- Digital sound streaming
Moisture can collect inside the hearing aid when humidity is high and ruin that component. Batteries get ruined and you get corrosion of elements inside of the case. You might as well throw your hearing aid in a sink full of water, and the effect is the same.
How to Manage Humidity
Water resistant models are currently on the market. This feature will give you some protection against humidity and bad weather, but you still can’t swim with them in.
When it’s very humid try to decrease indoor water vapor by using a dehumidifier. It’s an investment that will benefit you and your family in many 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. However, protecting your hearing aid more completely will require additional thinking. There are a few other things you can and should do.
Look for the dehumidifier made for hearing aids. They come at all costs levels. Silica gel crystals in a drying kit are used to protect 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. 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. When you expose the battery and inner elements to air by leaving the door open, condensation can evaporate by itself. Do this all year round, not just in the summer months.
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.
Other Moisture Factors
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.
- When exercising wear a sweatband. If you are wearing your hearing aid then it’s a good idea in general. Sweat in your ears can cause problems later.
- Check surfaces before you put your hearing aid down. A glass or coffee cup can leave moisture behind.
Treat your hearing like the valuable asset that it is. 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.